Three junior varsity Cougars and one varsity grappler came away from the Saturday Trans-Valley League wrestling tournament as champions.
At the varsity level, Rhys Panero pinned down the title at 132 pounds, completing a long, tough comeback from injury.
“Rhys worked really hard, got himself back in shape,” head coach Derek Scott said of Panero taking the TVL title in his weight class.
For the JV Cougars, who closed out their season at the TVL Meet, champions were Izaac Sipma at 160 pounds, Alfredo Zarate at 170 and Sean Vassallo at 220.
“The 160 pound class was the toughest by far at the tournament,” noted Scott. “Izaac looked really good and for Sean, it was the first tournament he had ever won.”
Second place honors for JV wrestlers went to Levi Hale at 138 pounds; Julian Gutierrez, 160; and Dylan Mendez at heavyweight. Taking third were Gino Stern, 106; Roman Gonzales, 160; and Alonzo Teixeira, 170. Fourth place finisher for Escalon was Chance Clark at 120 pounds and Donnie Smith took home fifth place at 145 pounds.
“For the varsity, the top four in each weight class qualify to Divisionals, the fifth is an alternate,” Scott explained.
A dozen Cougars made the cut and move on to the weekend Divisionals competition in Natomas, with one alternate.
Closing out his season, going 0-2 at 145 pounds, was Ethan Krieger. At 182 pounds, Stephen Mendez went 2-2 for fifth place and will be an alternate.
Fourth place finishers for Escalon included Braiden Vega at 106 pounds, Miguel Granillo at 220.
Taking third place in their weight classes were Garrett Nash, 113 pounds; Marco Silva, 126; Livius Seung, 138; and Marco Mendoza, 170 pounds.
Notching second place honors at the league tournament were five Cougars, Alex Jimenez at 120 pounds, Christian Manzo, 152; David Ryan, 160; Jose Vargas, 195; and Blue Capps, heavyweight.
“We had a great week of practice, a lot of our unsung guys wrestled really well,” Scott said of the team taking third place overall in the TVL. “We were just 10 points out of first. Alex Jimenez had a great semi-final match, Marco Silva wrestled to the best of his ability and we were very pleased with Blue Capps, he came back to beat a Hughson kid that had beaten him earlier in a dual meet, this time he got him with a third round pin.”
Wrestlers are now preparing for the Divisionals action, with the tournament slated both Friday and Saturday in Natomas. The top four there in each weight class qualify to Masters.
For the girls – Mikayla Vega, Adela Ley-Han and Julia Casillas – they compete at McNair in Stockton both Friday and Saturday in the girls Masters Meet, with the top five in each weight class there moving on to the State Meet.