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Cougar Wrestlers Wrap It Up At Masters Meet
A disappointing end to an otherwise standout season, no Escalon wrestlers qualified for the State Wrestling Meet, slated for this weekend in Bakersfield.

The Cougars earned Trans-Valley League championship honors and also were the Section champs, but failed to put any wrestlers into the state finals.

"In all honesty, we thought we would have (at least) two qualify," admitted coach Derek Scott.

Christian Franks and Johnathon Costa were the Cougar frontrunners, expected to move on to the final state competition, but Costa wasn't able to make weight and did not get to take the mats at the Feb. 25-26 Masters Meet at Stockton Arena. Franks also had a tough weekend.

"Costa had been wrestling at 125 the past couple of weeks so we didn't think it would even be an issue," Scott said.

But with the weight bracket at 127 pounds for the Masters, Costa weighed in Friday morning at 128 and did not get to wrestle.

"Christian, at 130 pounds, lost a tough match last week and he never really bounced back," Scott said of his senior leader. "He went 1-2 this weekend, but he has had a great career, he qualified to the state meet twice."

Other Cougars closing out the season this weekend were Tyler Lawrence, going 1-2 at 119 pounds.

"He had been sick all week and gave a great effort, he had a real good season," said Scott.

Junior Dylan Furtado came the closest to moving on the state meet, going 3-2 at 135 pounds.

"He lost 3-2 in the match to go to state," Scott pointed out. "He almost had a takedown at the end that would have moved him forward ... he tried really hard."

Furtado lost in the match to get to state to a Calaveras wrestler, but should be back next season with even more reason to wrestle well.

Sophomore Jason Robbins was 1-2 at 140 pounds, and also had a solid season, and will only get better with experience.

Andrew Baroni was 2-2 at 145 pounds and made the quarterfinals, also narrowly missing a state meet appearance.

"He had a real good match in the quarterfinals, we were real proud of Andrew," Scott said, noting that the senior had his best season on the mats this year. "Adrian Cortes, at 160, went 1-2, he lost a battle, 8-5, in the second round and had a tough road after that, but we have no fault with the effort, he worked really hard."

Mikey Simoes got a couple of tough draws and went 0-2 at 171 pounds, fighting hard but unable to pin down a win at the Masters.

"We were right there on the hump, we just have to figure out how to get over it," Scott said of getting wrestlers to the state competition next year.

"But overall we had a great season, we won the league title, won the section title, as a team we did a great job."