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Cougar Camarena Wins One, Loses Two At State
Senior A.J. Camarena, shown after a tough 3-1 loss to the eventual second place finisher in the state, went 1-2 in his three matches at 195 pounds at the state wrestling meet. Frankie Tovar/The Times

It was a tough Friday on the wrestling mats for Escalon’s A.J. Camarena.

The senior, Escalon’s lone qualifier to the State Wrestling Meet, went 1-2 on Friday, March 6 to close out his high school wrestling career.

“His first match, he lost by two points, 3 to 1, losing to a kid from Clovis,” said coach Derek Scott. “That kid took second in the state.”

Camarena had the tough draw right off the bat, falling to Adam Prentice in the stacked 195-pound weight bracket.

He came off the two-point loss with some determination, however, and battled back to earn a 7-6 win in his second match to even his state meet mark at 1-1.

In what turned out to be his third and final match, Camarena lost by pin to a wrestler from the southern section.

“All in all we were pleased,” Scott said of Camarena’s effort. “He got a lot out of his talent.”

Scott said the state competition for Camarena capped off a hugely successful year on the mats for all Cougars.

“We were able to get three guys medal at the Masters Meet and with 10 new starters, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” admitted Scott. “We were pleased with how well they progressed and performed, this was a fun group of guys to coach.”

The wrestlers lose just three seniors from this year’s team, Camarena, Matthew Gallego and Travis Nascimento, so will have a strong core group ready to return to the mats.

“We will take two weeks off, then we are right back at it,” Scott said, with wrestlers ready to participate in a number of tournaments during the off season.

“It was a fun year, we had some new coaches helping out, everyone did a great job,” said Scott.