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High School Wrestlers Battle Ripon In League Opener
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Wrestlers for Escalon High School had a very busy first week of Christmas break. All three groups of EHS wrestlers got the Trans-Valley League season started on the road at Ripon on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

First, the JV boys team narrowly escaped with a win with the score being 30 - 30. EHS won on criteria.

“We are very light in numbers this year at this point,” noted head coach Derek Scott. “We won five out of the six matches we wrestled. We had to give up a lot of forfeits making the score tight. Winning for the Cougars were Beau Morgan, Chase Cummings, John Vargas getting his first EHS win, Guadalupe Calderon and Victor Romero. I thought the JV worked hard and wrestled very well.”

Next came the varsity Lady Cougars and there were only four matches due to EHS having several wrestlers hurt or under the weather. The Cougars were 2-2 in matches wrestled but dropped the team dual due to forfeits.

Getting impressive victories were Isabella Alcala and Jessica Freitas.

“Finally came the varsity with a full crowd and a lot of excitement. It’s always a battle in their gym going against longtime rivals in all sports,” Scott said. “EHS came out strong and handled the pressure thumping Ripon 57 - 12. I was very impressed with the composure we showed for such a young group.”

Coming up with big wins for the Cougars were Luca Cerasi, JW Mills, Lavin Gouzenne, Logan Wentzell, Talan Reider, Cruz Snow, Logan Dooley, Anthony Jones, David Ingles and Frank Rodriguez.

“Getting our football players back really added a boost to the line up,” noted Scott.

The Cougars had little time to rest as the girls wrestled in Ceres on Dec. 22 and the boys went to Ceres on Friday, Dec. 23.

EHS had five girls compete at the Ceres Tournament with four medaling.

Bringing home medals for the girls were Jessica Freitas, who wrestled well and just had a tough weight class. Taking fifth in her best tournament of the year was Aislyn Ingles. Continuing to get better working hard was Angeline Mills taking a hard-fought win. Looking great continuing to refine her form was Isabella Alcala.

“The girls are working hard and continuing to improve. They were coached at the event by assistant Julia Casillas,” said Scott.

On Friday the boys wrestled at the 30-team Ceres Invitational.

“I went in just wanting to get better with very little expectations, but the kids did a great job and really surprised me taking fifth place out of 30 local and some non-local extremely tough Clovis area schools,” Scott explained. “We had 13 wrestlers compete and seven wrestlers medal.”

Taking seventh and looking great in his first action back was Anthony Jones.

“We were very impressed with how well Anthony did once he got tired. He’s going to have a good year,” Scott predicted.

Having many of the medal round matches not wrestled because of the CIF mandated five matches in one day rule, Scott said there were many ties where the medal was determined by basically a coin flip.

Tied for fifth at the event were Christian T Cruz, who showed great improvement, and Talan Reider in his first tournament.

“Really finding their form tying for third were JW Mills, who had his best matches of the year and David Ingles, who continues to impress every weekend,” said Scott. “Also looking great with very little practice time was Frank Rodriguez. Frank has done a great job wrestling at heavyweight this year.”

The team’s lone finalist, taking second place and suffering his first loss of the year after starting the year 16 – 0, was Luca Cerasi.

“Luca did a great job winning a super tough match in the semi’s. Luca was pressing it a little bit in the finals trying too hard to get the other kid to his back, like he has been able to do to every other kid he had wrestled all year,” the coach explained. “Luca battled back in the third once he wasn’t nervous anymore and lost 9 - 7. The other guy was holding on happily to survive with the win. I was very pleased with how Luca and the team battled at this tournament.”

Most of all, Scott added, he was excited for the team to earn the fifth place finish and said all wrestlers so far this season are displaying a great work ethic.

The team was coached by Derek Scott, Ray Scott, Ray Krieger, Brent Noon Sr., Eric Rowe and Kirt Smith.

Escalon will host its annual Lloyd C. Engel Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6 and 7 with over 35 teams expected in attendance.