Two days of continuous action on the campus of Escalon High School saw nearly 40 teams bring wrestlers in for the annual Lloyd Engel Wrestling Tournament, and Escalon had several standout efforts among the performances.
Head coach Derek Scott said the host team emerged with one undefeated champion, as senior A.J. Camarena went 6-0 over the two days.
“He took first place at 195 pounds and was voted the most outstanding heavyweight wrestler,” Scott said.
Friday’s matches were basically placement rounds, determining what pool a wrestler would be in for the Saturday competition, up to and including the medal rounds.
“We did so well on Friday, we kind of hurt ourselves for Saturday, we had so many kids in Pool A,” Scott said, noting that multiple wins by his wresters on Friday put them in the toughest bracket.
In Pool A, wrestlers doing well but not placing were Rhys Panero, Kyle Jimenez, Cameron DuBois, Mark DeHaven and Daniel Gonzalez, all going 4-2, while Hunter Calton went 3-2 in the toughest pool.
Medal winners for Escalon were Trenton Busch, 4-2, second place in Pool B at 138 pounds; Christian Manzo, 3-4, fourth place in Pool C at 152 pounds. Daniel Wallace went 5-2 for third place honors in Pool B at 170 pounds, Jake Lawrence took first place in Pool C with a 4-2 mark at 182 pounds and Matthew Gallego went 6-1 at 182 pounds in Pool A, good for third place honors.
“It was a two-day stretch, we had eight mats going, 38 teams, we had about the same number of teams as last year but it seemed like we had more wrestlers,” Scott said.
The solid showing at the Engel Tournament capped off a busy week for the wrestlers, as the JV and varsity also had a Trans-Valley League meet, hosting Ripon on Wednesday, Jan. 7.
Escalon’s JV took a 51-30 decision with wins from Adela Ley-Han, 106; Nick DeWeerd, 120; Greg Artiaga, 138; David Ryan, 145; Marco Mendoza, 170; Daniel Wallace, 182 and, in what Scott said was the best match of the dual, Justin Branco nailing down a win at 220 pounds.
“The varsity dual was very competitive,” Scott added, noting that the first few matches went Ripon’s way.
“They had a pin early, it was a 3-point match heading into the 170-pound bout,” Scott said.
From there, the Cougars rattled off several straight pins to put some distance between the teams, eventually winning by a 54-18 margin.
Taking wins by pin for the Cougars were Rhys Panero, 113 pounds; Kyle Jimenez, 120; Livius Seung, 126; Mark DeHaven, 132; Travis Nascimento, 160; Hunter Calton, 170; Jake Lawrence, 182; Matthew Gallego, 195 and A.J. Camarena at 220.
Wins by decision on the mats against Ripon for the varsity came from Fabricio Gallo at 138 pounds and Cameron DuBois at 152.
The Cougars go to Mountain House for a TVL match tonight, Jan. 14, with tournament action slated on Saturday with the varsity at Gregori, the JV team going to Enochs.