Eight Cougars were busy on the mats at the Stockton Arena over the weekend, competing in hopes of making it to the State Wrestling Meet in Bakersfield.
Two are moving on; Tyler Lawrence at 140 pounds and Dominic Freeseha, at 220 pounds.
“The top seven (in each weight class) go to state,” explained Escalon coach Derek Scott. “We were 14th as a team, our goal was top 10.”
Though they didn’t get into the top 10 as a team, Scott said they did beat out all other Division IV and V teams by a wide point margin, so that is something the Cougars can feel good about. And a couple wrestlers who will be back next year narrowly missed qualifying for state, offering some hope that next season will be their turn.
Wrestling but not moving on to state were a half dozen Cougars.
At 106 pounds, Kyle Jimenez went 2-2.
“We were very happy with Kyle, he wrestled good, and he improved a ton this year,” Scott said.
At 145 pounds, Colton Camara bowed out with an 0-2 showing.
“We were bummed he didn’t have a better day but he had a great season,” noted Scott.
Tough matches didn’t go Josh Redding’s way at 152 pounds, the senior going 0-2 to close out his career, losing both matches in the final round.
Junior Matt Gallego went 1-2 at 182 pounds and he is one of those that will be back next season.
“He looks to be real competitive next year,” Scott said.
Four of the eight made the top 12 and advanced to the second day of competition.
“Austin Martinez went 3-2 at 170 pounds, he just had a good kid a round earlier than we would have liked, had the number 4 seed,” Scott explained of the senior just missing out on a trip to state.
“A.J .Camarena, he was the hard luck kid of the tournament, he lost to the number one seed and the number three seeded guy before the medal round,” Scott said. “He wrestled at 195 pounds and he gets to come back.”
For the two Cougars that qualified for state, Tyler Lawrence took fourth place honors at 140 pounds, going 4-2.
“It was the first time he had been pushed since coming back from injury,” explained Scott. “He wrestled really well.”
And at 220 pounds, Dominic Freeseha qualified for state with a 4-1 record and second place overall finish.
“Dominic squeaked through the quarterfinals but he looked really good in dominating his guy in the semifinals,” Scott said. “Then he had to wrestle the returning state champion in the finals and did a great job.”
The match was a loss for Freeseha but still has him headed to Bakersfield.
“These two have a good chance to place at state,” Scott said.
The state meet runs Friday, March 7 and Saturday, March 8.
“It’s a 40-man (per weight bracket) tournament, both our wrestlers will start Friday with first round matches, you have to win three that day to make the second day,” Scott said.