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Cougar Grapplers Handle Double Dual With Ease
Wrestlers kept their Trans-Valley League record spotless with a double dual meet win on Wednesday, Jan. 26 in Escalon, hosting both Modesto Christian and Riverbank. In the Modesto Christian contest, the varsity squad came up a 63-9 victor, with five wins by pin and one decision. Taking their opponents down with pins were Tyler Lawrence, 125 pounds; Johnathon Costa, 130; Christian Franks, 135; Dylan Furtado, 140; and Adrian Cortes, 171 pounds. Andrew Baroni worked out a 9-4 decision at 152 pounds to round out the bouts. Other Cougar points came on forfeits.

In the JV contest against MC, there was only one match actually wrested in a 60-0 Cougar win, and it was Juan Silva getting his first win on the mats, pinning his opponent in the 171-pound division.

"That was good for Juan, his first wrestling win ever," said head coach Derek Scott.

Taking on the Riverbank Bruins in the second half of their meet, Escalon's JV team had several matches to wrestle and scored a decisive 51-18 victory. Wins by pin came for Chaz Welborn, 119 pounds; Lestat Velasquez, 125; Clayton Keener, 130; Josh Redding, 140; Jorge Cortes, 145; and Nancy Humphrey, 152 pounds. Danny Felix took a 7-1 decision at heavyweight.

"We were really happy to see Nancy and Jorge both win," said Scott. "And we were also pleased with Josh Redding, that was his first match of the year."

The varsity squad rolled through Riverbank to the tune of a 68-0 final with pins at all but two weight classes. Baroni earned a technical fall (16-0) at 152 pounds and heavyweight Joey Gutierrez battled to a 5-2 win.

Pins came from Max Yang, 112 pounds; Cole McCoy, 119; Lawrence, 125; Costa, 130; Franks, 135; Furtado, 140; Brendan Wing, 145; Garrett Wade, 160 pounds; Cortes, 171.

"We only lost one match in the two duals," Scott said of wrestlers tuning up for the stretch drive.

Scott noted that the team has enjoyed plenty of success over the past few years, losing only a couple matches in league action throughout his 10-year tenure with the club. He pointed to the array of assistant coaches, many of them former EHS athletes, that are on hand to help with the team, as well as some volunteers that work with the wrestlers on a regular basis.

"We have three or four of our coaches that also wrestled in college," Scott explained. "They know how to get the guys ready for competition."

Weekend action for the Cougars saw 15 JV wrestlers go to Elk Grove, with four medals coming out of the tournament. Lestat Velasquez took down first place honors at 125 pounds, with Josh Redding second at 140, Chaz Welborn third at 119 and Clayton Keener fourth at 130 pounds.

"We were really happy with that, Chaz is finally healthy and that was the best he's wrestled this year," noted Scott. "It was also Josh's first tournament and he looked good."

Four wrestlers went to the Pitman Tournament for Escalon as well, with Kenny Ring and Joey Gutierrez getting in some work but not medaling. Adrian Cortes was fourth at 171 pounds with a 2-2 mark, though his two losses were via forfeit because he left early to attend the Sacramento Kings game honoring the state championship football team. Johnathon Costa went 3-1 to earn second place honors at 130 pounds.

The Cougars will host Hughson in the final league match of the season tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 2, and look to claim the TVL title with a victory. Team Dual Sections are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5 at Rosemont.