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Winter Sports Teams Kick Off Campaigns
Mats And Hoops
Shown in action during the 2015 Lloyd C. Engel Tournament is Escalons Cameron DuBois, taking control against a Bret Harte opponent at 145 pounds. Cougar wrestlers are gearing up for another season, with the Engel Tournament in early January and a new girls team taking the mats for Escalon as well. Times File Photo


Basketball and wrestling will be the two winter sports taking center stage over the next couple of months, and Escalon High School will feature both sports for boys and girls.

For the first time, the school will offer a girls wrestling program, separate from the boys, with their own schedule but competing in many of the same events as the boys. Derek Scott will serve as head coach for the boys and Atom Garcia has been selected as the head coach for the girls, with both teams utilizing assistants Ray Scott, Jason Robbins, Adrian Carrillo, Eric Rowe, Willie Gonzalez and Nick Hanson.

Head coach Derek Scott said he is pleased that the girls will have their own team and so far they have three competing Lady Cougars, with spots available for many more. Any high school girls interested are invited to come practice with the team.

“In past years, we have had one or two girls and they have just wrestled against the boys,” Scott said.

With the interest growing, however, the district agreed to expanding the sport for girls, bringing on a coach and seeking more participants.

“They practice against each other and the three girls we have right now are all pretty good,” Scott said. “They’ll have a couple of tournaments and the district is being very supportive.”

First up for the wrestlers will be a trip to the McNair Tournament in Stockton on Saturday, Dec. 5 for the varsity boys and the Lady Cougar wrestlers. That day, the JV boys will head to the Calaveras Tournament. Both events begin at 9 a.m.

December is full of tournament action for the wrestlers, and that continues into early January when the annual Mel Focha JV Tournament is hosted at Escalon on Saturday, Jan. 2 beginning at 9 a.m.

Trans-Valley League action for the boys and girls is scheduled to kick off on the road at Riverbank on Wednesday, Jan 6. The two-day Lloyd C. Engel Tournament at Escalon will run Friday, Jan. 8 and Saturday, Jan. 9.

All coaches return with the boys basketball program at EHS, with Martin Louro coaching the varsity boys, Nate Bartelink leading the JV squad and David Anderson leading the freshmen.

The boys are scheduled to take the home court on Saturday, Nov. 28 with scrimmage action kicking off at 9 a.m.

The varsity boys and girls will host the annual Foundation Game, taking on Central Catholic on Monday, Nov. 30 with the varsity girls at 6 p.m., varsity boys at 8 p.m.

The JV and varsity boys will travel to Bret Harte on Wednesday, Dec. 2 for a 5 p.m. JV game, 6:30 p.m. varsity contest and the freshmen will head to the Ceres Tournament for games Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 2 through 4. The varsity boys travel to nearby Oakdale for a game on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.

For the girls, they will put only varsity and JV teams on the court this season, with no freshman squad. Joseph Dalpogetti is head coach for the varsity girls, Kacey Cheary will take over the JV girls. The squads are scheduled to go to Modesto for a scrimmage at Grace Davis on Saturday, Nov. 28 and then will play in the annual Escalon Lions Club Tournament from Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 2 through 4.

A series of tournament action and non-league contests keep the teams busy throughout December, with the start of league play in early January. The boys start their TVL campaign on the road, going to Riverbank on Friday, Jan. 8 with the freshmen starting off the trio of contests at 4:30 p.m. First home game for Escalon in league will be Friday, Jan. 15 when they host Ripon Christian for the Winter Homecoming.

Escalon’s Lady Cougars play host to Riverbank in their TVL opener, welcoming the Lady Bruins into town on Thursday, Jan. 7 with the JV tip off at 6 p.m.