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Six Champions For Cougar Wrestlers At Focha Tournament
Girl champs
Escalon had two wrestlers in the girls division at the Mel Focha Tournament on Saturday and both claimed first place honors with Mikayla Vega, left, wrestling at 116 pounds and Julia Casillas at 126.Times Photos By Marg Jackson

Between the girls and the JV boys, six Escalon wrestlers were crowned champions at the weekend Mel Focha Tournament at EHS.

The tournament was moved up this year from its normal January date and head coach Derek Scott said they were down a few teams because of that change but still saw about 15 schools come to participate.

In the girls wrestling division, the Cougars had Mikayla Vega and Julia Casillas on the mats.

“We have four girls on the team, one is still getting in practices and one just joined,” Scott explained. “We had two girls wrestle, both were champions.”

At 116 pounds, Mikayla Vega went 3-0, getting all three wins by pin.

“This is her fourth tournament win,” Scott noted.

A junior, Vega said she is glad to see more competitors in girls wrestling now than the past couple of years.

“I was feeling good,” she added of her matches on Saturday. “But I do feel like I need to get faster.”

At 126 pounds, Julia Casillas also compiled a 3-0 record at the tournament, taking home first place honors. She was voted the Most Outstanding Girl Wrestler at the tournament.

“My dad is a big wrestling fan,” the sophomore said of why she decided to give the sport a try. “I just enjoy that you can be aggressive.”

For the JV boys, 12 wrestlers were rewarded with medals for their efforts on the mats, including four that were named tournament champions.

At 106 pounds, Ty Murray finished in fourth place with a 2-2 record. Gino Stern went 3-1 for a third place finish.

In what Scott termed “the most competitive division,” Manuel Diaz placed fourth for Escalon with a 2-2 record at 152 pounds. At 182 pounds, Julian Gutierrez took third with a 3-1 mark. Donnie Smith went 2-1 for a second place finish.

“This was his second tournament and he has wrestled really well,” Scott said of Smith.

At 195 pounds, Alonzo Teixeira went 2-2 for a fourth place medal. Heavyweight action saw Sean Vassallo take third place with a 3-1 mark, while Jonathon Santos went 2-1 for second place honors.

“We had four champions, including Aidan Krieger, he went 3-0 at 126 pounds,” Scott said. “Miguel Souza went 2-0 for first place at 132 pounds and he is undefeated on the season.”

Brad Hagglund went 2-0 for the tournament title at 152 pounds and David Camacho went 3-0 at 220 pounds, claiming top honors.

“He was the pleasant surprise of the tournament,” explained Scott of Camacho. “He was dominant.”

Tournament sponsors were DaSilva Dairy and the Larry Grossi Family – Grossi Fabrication, noted Scott.

“I want to thank all those that helped,” he added. “We wrestled very well, pleased with our progress and we have a good mix of new, young coaches that have really helped with the kids.”

Varsity wrestlers will go to the Modesto Junior College Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 21 starting at 9 a.m.