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Escalon Varsity Boys, Girls Close Out Wrestling Season
Ingles 3-1
Varsity wrestler David Ingles, shown here during a regular season match that he won by pin over a Riverbank opponent, was one of several Cougars taking the mats at the recent Masters Meet at Stockton Arena. Marg Jackson/The Times

A trip to the Masters Meet in Stockton saw several Cougars take the mats to compete, but all ended their seasons there; no EHS grapplers qualified for the State Meet.

The Masters was staged at Stockton Arena on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18.

“We had two girls compete at Masters. The girls had a tough day. They competed hard; they just ran into tough opponents,” said Escalon head coach Derek Scott.

Isabella Alcala ended her season going 0-2.

“Isabella had a tough season but never stopped working. We have some things to fix and she will be really good next year,” Scott noted. “Finishing off her EHS career was Jessica Freitas going 1-2. Jessica wrestled really well and won the match she was capable of winning. She really stepped up these last few weeks. We will miss having her on the team.”

Overall, said Scott, the girls had a good wrestling season and will look to get better for next year. Coaching the girls this season were Seth Davis, Julia Casillas, Erica Lopez and Jeremy Mills.

“The boys had seven unranked wrestlers going into the event needing to get in the top six to move on to state,” Scott said.

The varsity grapplers battled but there were no top six finishes for the Cougars.

Anthony Jones went 0-2, though he had shown steady improvement throughout the season.

“This was Anthony’s first real big tournament and he looked a little nervous,” Scott explained. “Going 1-2 were Frank Rodrigues, John Konradi and Christian T. Cruz. These three had very little experience at this level. Frank had his best tournament the weekend before. John, like he’s done all year, competed hard in every match. Cruz works really hard and wants to be good. He just has to relax and believe in himself a little more. He does not back down regardless of who the other guy is.”

Entering the tournament with high hopes was freshman Luca Cerasi, who ended his season with a 2-2 record.

He had “the worst luck” of any wrestler Scott said he has coached in the Masters.

“He starts the first match down 1-0 and out of injury time for headgear violation on head gear he had been wearing most of the year,” said Scott. “There were three other matches with people having the same headgear where the technicality wasn’t applied. He lost by one point in overtime.”

Cerasi regrouped to win his next two matches, including taking a nine-point win over a competitor who had previously defeated him earlier in the season.

In what turned out to be his final match, Scott said the score was tied late, 5-5, and both wrestlers were tired but Cerasi tried to get the win with a late move.

“He tries to turn the guy, he lands kind of awkward, the coaches complain and the ref calls a late illegal hold with three seconds to go,” Scott said of Cerasi taking the loss, dropping to 2-2. “I felt very bad for Luca. He had a chance, and we felt like it was stolen from him.”

Also having some misfortune not knowing if he could go until the day before the Masters because of a hurt knee was David Ingles, who was able to take the mats.

“I thought David tried his best to give himself a chance; he was just too limited with his lack of experience and mobility,” Scott noted. “Going 3-2 finishing a round away from medals was JW Mills. JW had his chance manhandling one of the placers in his third match but ran out of gas and got beat.”

It was a tough way for the senior to end the campaign.

“JW went hard and I was sorry to see him lose; he had a very successful career at EHS,” said Scott.

Even though the team was disappointed it didn’t have any qualifiers, Scott said they had a great year and are very excited for next year.

“We were Trans-Valley League champions and Section runner-ups,” said coach Scott. “This team started four freshmen and had very little experience and did a heck of a job. Like I told the team afterwards, the only way to get more experience is to do more matches in the off season.”

Coaching the varsity and JV teams this year were Derek Scott, Ray Krieger, Ray Scott, Brent Noon Sr., Eric Rowe, Andrew Baroni, Nick Hanson, Kirk Smith and team organizer Brianne Cerasi.