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Escalon Wrestlers Pin Down League, Tournament Victories
Coming off big wins in Trans-Valley League action, Escalon wrestlers continued to show well on Saturday, in the Mel Focha JV Tournament.

The JV and varsity were both winners on Wednesday, Jan. 5 in the league opener against Ripon, the JV taking a 66-0 decision. Most of the wins came via forfeit, said coach Derek Scott, with just two matches wrestled.

"Chaz Welborn, at 119 pounds, won by fall (pin) and Luis Avila, at 189, won by fall," said Scott.

The varsity was a 55-16 winner, with just three matches going into the loss column for Escalon.

"We thought we should win," Scott said of matching up well against the Indians.

Wins by pin came for Cole McCoy at 119 pounds, Tyler Lawrence, 125; Clayton Keener, 130; Dylan Furtado, 140; Jason Robbins, 145; Shane Silveira, 189; and Joey Gutierrez, heavyweight.

Also taking wins off the mat were Christian Franks, 135, forfeit win; Garrett Wade, 160, 13-2 decision; Mike Simoes, 171, 8-4.

"A few guys had to fill in and we were real pleased with them," Scott said. "Our big guys wrestled well and the people we were most impressed with were (freshman) Clayton Keener, he had to fill in at varsity and did real good, also Shane Silveira, it was his first match of the season, now that he's done with football, and Joey Gutierrez looked good."

On Saturday, the Mel Focha JV Tournament was hosted at Escalon High and Scott said the full day event could not have been put on without major support from the community.

"There were people there from 6 a.m. until we were done, about 6:30 p.m.," Scott noted. "I just want to thanks all the parents, my coaches, all the people in the community that helped."

Tournament sponsors included Grossi Fabrication-Grossi family, Quality Service-McCoy family, Big Boy Market-Toy family and the Nick and Irma Bavaro family.

"There were 22 teams there, and it was the biggest I can ever remember," Scott said of the tourney. "We have had more teams there before but every team brought a lot of guys and we had well over 300 wrestlers."

For Escalon, 13 competitors were entered into the event and eight came away with medals.

Earning first place in his 145-pound bracket was Frankie Bavaro, who went 3-0 on the day.

"This is the first time he has wrestled with us and we were very impressed with him," Scott said of Bavaro. "I definitely thought he was the surprise of the tournament."

Second place honors went to Cole McCoy, 119, 2-1; Colton Camara, 125, 2-1. Taking third place were Max Yang, 112 pounds, 3-1; Clayton Keener, 125, 3-1; Joey Gutierrez, heavyweight, 3-1; Danny Felix, heavyweight, 3-1.

Nick Payan, at 215 pounds, went 2-2 to nail down a fourth place finish.

"All the medalists wrestled well, Cole McCoy had some pretty good matches, Colton Camara looked good," noted Scott. "Clayton Keener was also impressive, he lost his first match, then came back to win his next three, and Danny Felix wrestled real hard."

League action continues this week, the JV and varsity going to Hilmar to take on the Yellowjackets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12.

The annual Lloyd C. Engel Tournament for varsity wrestlers will be staged both Friday, Jan. 14 and Saturday, Jan. 15 at Escalon High, with mats going in both the old and new gyms on campus.