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Season Comes To Close For Five Cougar Wrestlers

Mikayla Vega represented Escalon at the State Wrestling Meet for girls, while four Cougar wrestlers went to the Masters Meet over the weekend at Stockton Arena. The season ended for all of them, short of a medal.

“We had some good things happen with Mikayla at the state tournament,” said head coach Derek Scott, noting that the 108-pounder completed her season with a 3-2 mark at the meet in Visalia.

“But she lost two matches where she was ahead, and lost the match to place, we have to find a way to win those close matches,” Scott added.

It was the second straight trip to the State Meet for the sophomore and though she won more matches than she lost, she did not place at the state event. Coaches Atom Garcia and Bryan Toy served as Vega’s coaches in Visalia for the competition.

“We just need to find a way to get over the hump at that state tournament,” Scott said.

Ultimately, it was also a disappointing weekend for the Cougars at the Masters Meet, with no wrestlers earning the right to advance to the State Meet. Scott said some uncharacteristic jitters seemed to hit most of the grapplers at just the wrong time, causing them to second guess themselves during crucial points in their matches.

“At 120 pounds, Alex Jimenez went 1-2, he had a tough day, he wrestled nervous, tense,” Scott explained. “Rhys Panero won his first match but then he lost, 1-0, in the next, he didn’t get credit for a takedown at the end that would have won it.”

That put him up against a Natomas wrestler he had faced earlier this season in the next match and Panero couldn’t get past him, ending his season and high school career with a 1-2 Masters Meet showing at 132 pounds.

“The surprise, by far, wrestling the best out of the group, Garrett Nash went 2-2 and finished in the top 16,” Scott said of the 113-pound freshman. “He looked loose, not nervous, doing what we told him to, he just went hard. We were extremely pleased with him, he had the best matches of his season at the end and that’s the way you want it.”

Falling just short of placing, Marco Mendoza went 3-2 at 170 pounds for Escalon and crafted a top 10 finish in his high school wrestling finale.

“In the match to place, he lost to the number three ranked guy,” Scott said. “Marco has worked really hard, he was a guy that didn’t come in highly touted but the last two years have been really good.”

Coaches making the trip to Stockton for the Masters Meet included head coach Derek Scott and assistants Ray Scott, Jason Robbins and Eric Rowe.