The Escalon Wrestling Club (EWC) began its Spring Season with the largest turnout in its history with over 40 wrestlers regularly attending practices run by EWC President and EHS Head Coach Derek Scott.
“The Spring Season is shorter and is a bit more informal than the regular youth and high school practices. We have kids from 5- to 18-years-old in the room,” said Scott. “We’re also going to some freestyle (Olympics rules) tournaments as well as our normal folkstyle (high school and collegiate rules) competitions in order to expand our style a bit.”
The Spring Season began in March and will run through late May.
On March 25, the EWC sent 13 wrestlers to Oakdale High School to wrestle in the SCWAY High School Elite Tournament of Champions with 12 of them placing. Traveling in from Idaho and practicing with the club before the tournament was 2016 Idaho 3A 145 lb. state champion Nash Johnson, cousin of EWC wrestler Garrett Nash. He placed fourth in the elite tournament. The senior, coached by his dad, with assistance from EWC coaches Scott, Eric Rowe and cousin Nate Nash is looking at possibly wrestling in college at one of the many California programs where Coach Scott has sent EHS graduates to continue their careers.
“The Oakdale TOC had small numbers but it was a brutal, quality tournament. Cameron DuBois defeated a Sac-Joaquin Section Champ on his way to gold. Rhys Panero, recovering from having the flu earlier in the week while also dealing with a torn labrum, looked excellent in winning his bracket as did Kyle Jimenez,” Scott explained. “Kyle and Cameron showed why they’ll be continuing their careers at the next level and Rhys was his typical gutsy self.”
Hugo Alcala brought home silver after sitting out the EHS season. Christian Manzo also won silver. Alex Jimenez, Marco Mendoza, David Ryan and Zach Freeseha took fourth while Stephen Mendez, Alfredo Zarate and Eric Espinoza took fifth.
On April 2, seven EWC grapplers competed at the area’s first SCWAY freestyle tournament at Hilmar High with all of them placing in both the freestyle and folkstyle divisions. EWC Coach Nate Nash held a short clinic at the tournament explaining current freestyle rules and officiated that portion of the tournament with some assistance from Kyle Jimenez, who also managed to take gold in both divisions. Gideon Gerber won the folkstyle division while taking third in freestyle. David Ryan, Griffin Gerber, Christian Manzo, Alex Jimenez and Garrison Gerber all came away with dual medals.
“A lot of the kids haven’t wrestled freestyle previously. The scoring system and match structure between freestyle and folkstyle can be significantly different but solid wrestling is solid wrestling no matter what the style,” added Scott. “It all starts with good positioning, which we stress above all else. As long as our kids stay in good position they’ll give themselves a chance to win and it showed in Hilmar.”
The EWC hosts its annual all you can eat BBQ rib and oyster dinner, dance and silent auction for the 11th year this Saturday, April 23 at the Escalon Community Center. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m. with dinner staring at 6 p.m. To go orders are also available. Last year’s event fed over 325 people and the community showed tremendous support by donating dozens of auction items that raised thousands of dollars to help ensure all of Escalon wrestling continues to thrive.
“We do our best to keep costs down for the kids to participate while having the means to run a successful program,” Scott said. “We never want to see a kid not be able to be in our program due to a lack of resources. All of the money we raise goes back into the program.”