Sixteen Cougar wrestlers traveled to the JV Novice Tournament in neighboring Oakdale on Saturday, 14 of them coming home with medals. Of those 14, seven of them were champions.
“We were very happy,” head coach Derek Scott of the outing for the young grapplers.
Getting things started on a positive note were Braydon Vega and Gino Stern, who both were in the 106-pound weight class and ended up in the title match against each other.
“It was a good match,” Scott said, noting that both wrestlers come in at under 100 pounds but wrestled up and did very well.
Vega ended with a 3-0 mark on the day for first place, Stern finished second.
At 113 pounds, Mikayla Vega went 3-0 for first place.
“She went so she could get some work in,” said Scott. “She dispels the notion that girls aren’t as strong as boys.”
Garrett Nash was first at 120 pounds with a 3-0 mark, as was Ethan Krieger at 145 pounds. Izaac Sipma took first at 160 pounds with a 3-0 showing, David Ryan went 3-0 to take first place honors at 170 pounds.
“Izaac looked good enough to wrestle varsity and David does everything we ask him to do,” said Scott of the standouts.
Alfredo Zarate fashioned a 3-0 mark for first place at 185 pounds.
“Probably the most exciting match of the day was at heavyweight, Dylan Dugo ended up going 2-1 to finish in second place but he had his opponent on his back most of the first round,” Scott said.
Along with Dugo and Stern coming home with second place honors, other Cougars finishing second were Levi Hale at 140 pounds, Roman Gonzales, 154; Brad Hagglund, 152; Julian Gutierrez, 170 pounds. Wrestling but not placing were Marco Silva at 135 pounds, Donnie Smith at 160 and Alonzo Teixeira at 170.
“Donnie Smith went 2-2 and wrestled the best he has looked in high school,” Scott said of the grappler showing promise.
The JV team will head next to the Oakdale Duals on Thursday, Dec. 1.
“We have a lot of young, tough kids coming in from El Portal,” Scott said of the team welcoming in some newcomers at the high school level this season.
The JV team will be showcased at the Mel Focha Tournament, hosted at Escalon High School and scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 17 starting at 9 a.m.