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EHS Wrestling Program Winding Down League Campaign
Victor Romero, shown in action earlier this season on the home mats, battled his way to a sixth place finish at the Pitman Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 21. Romero was one of seven Cougars bringing home medals from the weekend tournament. Marg Jackson/The Times

In action this past Saturday, Jan. 21, the varsity Cougar wrestlers traveled to the last regular season tournament, hosted at Pitman High School.

“We had 14 wrestlers and seven medalists,” head coach Derek Scott said of the varsity boys taking part in the competition. “We had such a great team performance on Wednesday (against Hughson) and we were just flat not ready to go in the first round. We lost at least three matches where we were the better guy. In the playoffs if we are going to accomplish anything we have to win the matches are capable of winning.”

Able to battle back and bring home medals were: seventh place, Luca Cerasi, John Konradi; sixth place was the “continuing to improve” Victor Romero, said Scott.

Fourth place finishers were JW Mills, Talan Reider, and David Ingels. Taking second place was Matthew Rangel.

“We rebounded well after the first round and wrestled pretty well. Talan looked the best he has all year, and won some tough matches. David Ingels continues to improve every weekend and has really worked hard,” Scott explained.

Also on Saturday, the varsity girls and JV boys headed to Gregori, coached by Julia Casillas and Erica Lopez.

There were seven boys that competed with two taking home medals. In the first round, sophomore Guadalupe Calderon, who has been going back and forth between JV and varsity this year, suffered a season ending broken leg.

“I feel really bad for Guadalupe. He worked really hard this year and deserved a better end to his season,” noted Scott. “We look forward to him having a healthy recovery and seeing him back next year.”

Rebounding from a rough league match and doing a great job at the tournament were Joseph Dutra, taking second place, and champion Adam Chaffey.

Wednesday, Jan. 18 the team traveled for a TVL meet at Hughson.

The meet started off with the JV team having a disappointing match falling 21-18 to go to 3-1 on the season.

“We lost four of the five matches and were ahead in two of them,” Scott said. “All we had to do is not get pinned in two of the matches and we win the dual ... It was a very frustrating match. On the positive side, John Vargas looked very good in a tough loss and Guadalupe Calderon won by fall, looking great.”

The Lady Cougars won by forfeit moving to 2-2 in the TVL.

The varsity had a match where Scott was worried, thinking that that at least six of his wrestlers could be considered the underdogs.

“On paper they matched up very well against us. The Cougars came on fast and gained momentum and never let up,” the coach pointed out. “The score ended up being a commanding 66-10 victory for us. We were 11-2 in matches wrestled and had nine falls.”

Big wins for Escalon came from Ben Gonzales, Preston Sizuela, Logan Wentzell, Talan Reider, Christian Rodriguez and Luca Cerasi.

“This was exciting, extremely fun. Their crowd was fired up and we came right out and silenced the crowd and really seemed to dispirit them,” Scott said. “I was very pleased with how we came out and wrestled.”

Earlier in the month, Escalon sent 14 wrestlers to the two-day Tim Brown Memorial Tournament at Sacramento Convention Center.

“We only had one medalist with JW Mills taking seventh place. This was the most solid JW has looked this year. He has been a little banged up, but really looked good,” Scott said. “We’re getting ready for the playoffs so this is the right time for him to get going. We had four people get eliminated in the last round of Friday night. Luca Cerasi, Matt Rangel and David Ingels all made the second day, falling just short of a medal. We were right there, a few breaks we would have had three or four placers.”

The Cougars finished 13th out of the more than five dozen competing teams.

“We have to really focus for the playoffs and we can have a great end to our season,” Scott summarized. “We have our final regular season match of the year Wednesday (Jan. 25) in the old gym against Hilmar at 5:30 p.m.”

It will be the annual Senior Night and the first Alumni Night, where four previous EHS greats will be honored.