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Cougar Duo Take Wrestling To Next Level
Sophomore Christian Franks and senior Thomas Martin will be headed to Bakersfield later this week, representing Escalon at the State Meet for wrestling.

The two Cougars placed fifth and seventh, respectively, at the Masters Meet staged at UOP on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27. They advance to the state event, the only two of the eight Escalon participants in the Masters to continue their seasons.

"Christian had a great first day," head coach Derek Scott said of the 103-pounder.

Franks ended up going 4-2 over the two days of competition and won his final match by a score of 4-2 to take the fifth place honors.

"He had a hard time making weight the second day," Scott said, though he was pleased to see Franks earn a trip to the state event.

At 215 pounds, Martin also compiled a 4-2 mark and finished seventh in his weight class.

"He had some really good matches," Scott said.

In his deciding match, Martin was a 2-0 winner over a Lindhurst opponent. The top seven in each weight class advance to the State Meet.

The toughest break of the tournament went to Charlie McDonald, who just missed the medal round and a trip south to Bakersfield.

"Charlie went 2-2 and he lost a heartbreaking match to get into the medal round," Scott explained. "There were three close calls and they didn't go our way."

Scott said he felt the match, which went down as a 4-3 loss to a Will C. Wood wrestler for McDonald, would have swung the other way had any one of those close calls resulted in a point for the Cougar grappler.

"Our goal was to get three guys to state and we qualified two," the coach noted.

All Cougars had a good experience at the Masters and, for the underclassmen, they can use this to help them prepare for next year.

At 125 pounds, freshman Dylan Furtado went 0-2.

"We knew it was a tournament that would be hard for him as a freshman," Scott said.

Tyler Gonzales closed out his high school wrestling career with a 1-2 mark at 152 and junior Colin Keener battled for the Cougars at 160 pounds, going 0-2.

Brandon Williams went 2-2 at 189 pounds.

"He wrestled hard and beat the guys we felt he should beat," Scott said. "Paul Brown at heavyweight went 2-2, we were really happy with him."

Hampered by an injury for much of the season, Brown came on strong at the end.

Work for Franks and Martin this week will just be going over some areas where they made mental mistakes on the mat, said Scott, getting them prepared for the State Meet.

"Last year we didn't send anybody to state and this year we were close with five guys and are sending two," he pointed out. "Charlie just missed and I thought Brandon and Paul were right there, too."

Scott said both Franks and Martin will have to wrestle consistently and stay mentally focused on the mats to make the most of their State Meet appearance.