Three champions were crowned among more than a dozen Escalon wrestlers that went to the Divisionals Meet in Sonora over the weekend, and the team itself took runner-up honors in the Division V section competition.
Several Cougars will go on to compete now at the two-day Masters Meet, Friday and Saturday at Stockton Arena.
“We had three champions, at 115 pounds, winning all four matches by fall in the first round was Kyle Jimenez, he looked really good,” said head coach Derek Scott. “Also Matt Gallego at 182 pounds, he won all his matches by pin as well and went 4-0, A.J. Camarena at 195 was dominant in all four of his matches to go 4-0.”
Those three move on to Masters, along with wrestlers who placed in the top four of their individual weight brackets. The top six wrestlers received medals, but only the top four move on.
Earning medals but falling just outside the limit to go to Masters were Marco Mendoza, fifth at 152 pounds and Travis Nascimento, sixth at 160 pounds.
Fourth place finishers who go to the Masters for Escalon include freshman Rhys Panero, who took fourth place at 106 pounds and Fabricio Gallo, fourth at 126.
“We had five in the finals, taking second place were Cameron DuBois at 145 pounds and Daniel Gonzalez at 220,” explained Scott. “Both lost in very good matches, both matches were much closer than two weeks ago.”
Escalon wrestlers taking part in the Divisionals but ending their seasons with losses on the first day were Livius Seung and Mark DeHaven. Christian Manzo, who had qualified for Divisionals, was unable to compete. On day two, wrestling but not advancing to medal matches were Daniel Wallace and David Escove.
“We had 14 guys that qualified for Divisionals and of those 14, 10 had never wrestled varsity before,” Scott said.
To come away with a second place team showing, he noted, speaks well of the effort put in by all wrestlers, and sets the stage for another strong season next year, when many will be returning.
“We wrestled much better than we did two weeks ago,” Scott agreed. “I felt we really reached to our ability and as coaches we were very encouraged.”
Next up, the Masters Meet, where the competition only gets tougher.
“This week, the top six at each weight class qualify to state,” Scott said. “Wrestling starts both Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m.”