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Cougar Wrestlers Bring Home Medals

Heading off to three different tournaments this past weekend, the Escalon wrestling teams – JV, varsity and girls – all saw their share of success on the mats.

The JV team went to Beyer High School, with eight young grapplers making it to the medal round.

“It’s kind of a tough tournament for JV,” head coach Derek Scott noted, with competition including some more experienced wrestlers.

Escalon got a fourth place medal at heavyweight from Dylan Dugo and saw both Braiden Vega, 106, and Brad Hagglund, 152, come away with third place honors.

“In second place was Gino Stern, he looked really good at 106 pounds and Donnie Smith had his best tournament of the year at 160, he also got second place,” said Scott.

Julian Gutierrez battled to a second place showing at 170 and one of the most impressive runs came from Miguel Granillo at 220 pounds, who lost by a slim margin in the finals.

“We had one champion, Izaac Sipma, at 160 pounds, he has continued to look good,” Scott said.

Ray Scott and Jason Robbins were the coaches that accompanied the JV team to the competition.

“At the girls tournament in Livingston, only two girls went but both were champions,” Scott noted.

At 111 pounds, Adela Ley-Han came out aggressive and seemed more comfortable than just a week ago, taking top honors in her weight class.

“We bumped Mikalya Vega up a weight and she still hammered everyone, her closest match was 17-1,” Scott said of the champion in the 115-pound division.

Coaches accompanying the girls were Atom Garcia and Bryan Toy.

Ten varsity wrestlers attended a 16-team tournament in Elk Grove at Buchanan High School, a tough battle early in the season.

“This is probably our toughest tournament of the year, we went there with 10 guys and four medaled,” Scott said.

Wrestlers not placing but getting kudos from coaches for their efforts on the mats were Christian Manzo, 2-2 at 160 pounds and Stephen Mendez, 2-2 at 182 pounds.

Alfredo Zarate, at 195 pounds, continues to make steady progress and earned a seventh place medal, going 1-2.

At 2-3, finishing in sixth place at 220 pounds was Erik Espinosa.

“We were very happy with him, he beat kids to get into the medal round that were better, he was just tougher,” Scott said.

Alex Jimenez took fifth place at 120 pounds, going 3-2 in a very competitive bracket, and earned his medal by defeating a wrestler he had lost to earlier.

Marco Mendoza, in his first tournament of the year, went 3-2 for fifth place at 170 pounds.

“He got better as the tournament went on,” Scott said.


This week, Escalon plays host to the annual Mel Focha JV boys/Varsity girls tournament, with action starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Scott said anywhere from 15 to 20 teams are expected to participate.