There were roughly 15 teams participating in Saturday’s annual Escalon Mel Focha JV Tournament, an event that also saw competition for the Escalon girls in the now-dual tourney.
The tournament was also moved up a few weeks due to conflicts in January, and head coach Derek Scott said he wasn’t sure exactly how it would be received in the new, earlier date, but he was pleased with the turnout.
“We lost three or four teams, due to the change in date,” said Scott. “I thought it was about the right size and our kids got plenty of matches.”
With a few Cougar JV wrestlers out due to injury, Escalon had 16 grapplers entered in the tournament.
The best performances came at 106 pounds, where a pair of young Cougars battled for supremacy.
“Braiden Vega went 3-0 for first place,” Scott said of the top 106-pounder. “He beat his teammate Gino Stern; Gino went 2-1 for second place.”
At 120 pounds, one of the toughest weight classes in the tournament, Garrett Nash went 4-1 to claim second place honors.
“I thought he wrestled pretty well,” Scott noted. “Also at 120, Chance Clark went 3-2, he took third place and it was the best he has looked so far this season.”
At 138 pounds, Levi Hale wrestled but did not place; Marco Silva did not place at 145 pounds.
At 160 pounds, Cougar Izaac Sipma nailed down second place tournament honors while Donnie Smith, also at 160 pounds, went 2-3 for fourth place.
Different pools at the 170-pound weight class saw Roman Gonzalez go 3-2 for third place, Julian Gutierrez go 2-1 for second and Alonzo Teixeira went 1-2 for a second place showing as well.
The 220-pound weight class saw Jose Vargas take third place with a 2-3 mark.
“The real surprise, a pleasant surprise for the tournament, was Miguel Granillo, he went 4-1, fought hard, looked good and took first place at 220 pounds,” Scott said.
Sean Vassallo went 2-3 for fourth place in the same weight class.
Heavyweight Dylan Dugo did not place and had his day cut short due to an injury precaution, while Dylan Mendes also wrestled but did not place.
“We had a really good day with the girls,” Scott said of that side of the tournament.
Three Lady Cougars took the mats and all three came away with top honors.
Adela Ley-Han earned first place honors at 106 pounds with a 2-1 mark on the day. At 111 pounds, Mikayla Vega went 3-0.
“She got three pins and is continuing her great season, she’s 16-0,” Scott said.
Also going undefeated for the day was Julia Casillas, wrestling for Escalon at 121 pounds.
“In her first varsity tournament, Julia went 5-0 to get first place,” noted Scott. “We were really surprised, with what she was able to do.”
A virtual newcomer to the sport, Casillas may lack experience, but not determination.
She also takes direction well, said Scott, listening to the advice of coaches and putting it into practice on the mats.
Casillas and Vega shared the most outstanding lightweight tournament honors.
“I was extremely impressed with all three girls,” Scott said.
Meadow Naraghi and Kylee DuBois are also expected to get in some matches for the girls team this season. Atom Garcia serves as head coach for the girls.
“I want to thank the coaches, the parents and parents of former wrestlers that came and helped with snack bar and to run the tournament,” Scott said.
Tournament sponsors were the Grossi family, the Naraghi family and Dr. Hector Ley-Han.
Scott also noted the efforts of Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey, on hand to serve as medic and the help from his family members at the head table, helping keep the tournament running smoothly.
The varsity team, meanwhile, is scheduled to be in action today, Wednesday, Dec. 21 at the MJC tournament.