Two remain standing after the weekend Masters Meet in Stockton.
Escalon had seven Cougars compete at the two-day event at Stockton Arena, with Kyle Jimenez and Cameron DuBois emerging with medals and state meet berths.
Head coach Derek Scott said all wrestlers competed hard and most came away with at least one win on the Masters mats.
Freshman Alex Jimenez went 1-2 at 113 pounds.
“He lost a heartbreaker to a kid from Central in his first match, he ended up going 1-2,” Scott noted. “As a freshman, he did a great job this year, we think eventually he will be a state placer.”
At 126 pounds, finally getting healthy after a tough, injury-riddled season, Rhys Panero went 2-2 and “wrestled the best he has all year,” Scott said. Highlight for Panero was taking down a Ponderosa wrestler ranked fifth in the section.
Livius Seung went 0-2 at 132 pounds and Marco Mendoza went 1-2 at 170 pounds.
“For Livius, it was a big improvement for him to get there,” Scott said, adding that Mendoza has also put in a tremendous amount of work and made great strides this season as well, with both grapplers setting themselves up for a solid season next year.
“Losing in heartbreaking fashion, on a somewhat controversial call, Daniel Gonzalez went 2-2 at 220 pounds,” Scott said, noting that Gonzalez fell just short of placing and had a tough draw. “Daniel really committed himself to wrestling and had a great senior year.”
Escalon’s two state placers will represent the Cougars at the State Meet in Bakersfield beginning Friday, March 4.
“In sixth place, at 120 pounds, Kyle Jimenez wrestled really well, we felt he could have done better the second day, but he looked like he had cut some weight and really was emotionally drained,” Scott said.
Jimenez, a senior, had finished seventh last year at Masters, earning a medal but falling one place short of qualifying for the state. This year, with a trip to the State Meet in hand, the sixth place finish was a victory in itself.
“He was right on the line last year and it was really nice to see him get over that hurdle,” agreed Scott. “It was a tough weight class.”
Jimenez finished with a 3-3 record.
Finishing in third place at 160 pounds and going 5-1, Cameron DuBois will continue his season this weekend as well.
“Cameron wrestled as good as anyone I have seen in my 19 years of coaching, the complete whole weekend, he got the most out of his ability, every single point he was capable of getting he got,” Scott said.
His only loss was to a wrestler from Folsom that pinned all his other opponents, while DuBois took him the full three rounds.
“He worked his way into beating all these kids; there were no easy matches, every single match was long and hard,” Scott said of the 160-pound bracket.
This past weekend also saw Escalon’s first female state qualifier compete, as freshman Mikayla Vega was in Visalia, where she compiled a 4-2 mark in her season finale.
“She just missed the match to place, she finished in the top 12 and that was with a heartbreaking loss to get beat in the match before placing,” Scott said of the 101-pound competitor. “She did a really good job; she is going to be really tough the next few years.”