On Saturday, Dec. 7, Escalon High School had approximately 20 athletes competing and 20 to 30 community members working the annual Mel Focha Wrestling Tournament. There were more than a dozen teams taking part in the competition.
The Escalon JV boys had eight medalists.
“Jorge Gonzalez, Sean Mahoney, Hunter Budd, and CJ Miller all looked very good and showed a lot of promise taking third,” said head coach Derek Scott. “We are very encouraged by our young guys. They continue to work hard and improve.”
Also continuing to look good and outwork his opponents, taking third, was JW Mills.
Three of the JV Cougar boys earned championships at the tournament, Christian Rowe, Casey Vassallo and Nicholas Freeseha.
“I am very excited about Christian; he is working hard and improving fast. Also taking first, Casey Vassallo, who is looking ready to become an everyday varsity wrestler this year,” Scott noted. “In the most exciting match of the day, Nicholas Freeseha earned a thrilling third round pin to win the tournament. I am really happy for Nicholas, he has improved a lot as an athlete, person, and student this year in the face of dealing with a family tragedy. In typical Freeseha fashion, if he can learn enough to make it a ‘who is tougher’ situation, I like our odds with a Freeseha. He has been working hard and to see him so excited after winning really made me feel good for him.”
In the girls division, Escalon had three wrestlers, with two making it to the medal round. Alyssa Herrerra did not place, said Scott, but “looking tough as usual”, Kaylee Freeseha took second.
“In her first tournament of the year, dominating all of her matches, Julia Casillas took first and earned most outstanding female wrestler,” Scott added. “Julia is a great young lady who deserves some attention for all the work she puts in.”
Scott also noted that the tournament was only pulled off successfully with the help of several key volunteers. He thanked the coaches, parents and volunteers including the Williams family for doing the snack bar, his own family for running the head table, Conni Bailey for serving as the tournament medic, Seth Davis for serving as tournament director and campus security Ricardo Herrera for helping throughout the event.
“Finally, thank you to Grossi Fabrication-Larry Grossi family for sponsoring the tournament,” Scott said.