Eight Cougars placed in the two-day Divisionals meet hosted at EHS Friday and Saturday, and seven of them are headed to Stockton Arena this weekend for the Masters Meet.
Head coach Derek Scott said he was pleased overall, especially after a tough first day that saw the Cougars in fifth place as a team.
“We battled all the way back and ended up second overall,” Scott said.
Calaveras claimed first place Divisionals honors with a total of 199 points, Escalon was second with 159.50, finishing just ahead of third place Ripon, at 158.
Two Cougars came out as champions, Kyle Jimenez at 120 pounds and Cameron DuBois at 160.
“Kyle took seventh last year at Masters and just missed going to state,” Scott noted.
This year, he took down a returning state qualifier in the finals.
DuBois outworked every opponent to continue his steady pace, working toward a state appearance as well.
“He put himself in a good position here to qualify for state,” agreed Scott, with the senior going 4-0 over the two days.
Second place finisher for Escalon was Daniel Gonzalez at 220 pounds, losing a triple overtime bout to a returning state qualifier from Calaveras, but rounding into shape for the Masters as well.
In third place and headed to Masters are freshman Alex Jimenez, at 113 pounds, who avenged a couple of earlier season losses, and Marco Mendoza at 170 pounds.
“He’s not going to dazzle anyone but he out toughs them,” Scott said of Mendoza taking down some quality opponents. “This year he has really come on, he works with Cameron every day, getting a lot better.”
Fourth place showings came from Rhys Panero at 126 pounds and Livius Seung at 132.
“We were real happy with Rhys, he had been battling injuries all year, he’s done a good job the last couple months,” Scott said. “And this was the best wrestling of the year that Livius has done.”
Trenton Busch, at 138 pounds, won a major decision and got a win by pin among his matches before losing a tough 5-3 decision in the fifth/sixth place match to end his career with a sixth place showing.
Wrestling at the Masters will be Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27, with top placers there moving on to the State Meet.
In girls action, all three Lady Cougars had qualified for the Masters and Adela Ley-Han went 0-2 at 106 pounds, senior Tristin King went 1-2 at 121 in her first year of wrestling.
“Mikayla Vega took fourth at 101 pounds, she went 3-2 and is our first ever state qualifier for the girls State Meet,” Scott said.
A freshman, Vega will go to Visalia for her state competition Friday and Saturday.
Scott offered thanks to parents of current and former wrestlers for helping out with the tournament over the two days, as Escalon hosted the event.
“It’s amazing to see how much support we had, to see how well it ran,” he said. “Even the Calaveras coaches helped out, they were working at the head table the whole time, and the support from the community was also great.”