Hosting the annual two-day Lloyd C. Engel Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Escalon High, wrestling coach Derek Scott said the event saw plenty of success for Cougar grapplers and plenty of cooperation from the community to pull it off.
Mats were busy in the old and new gyms on the EHS campus both days, Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 as teams from nearly three dozen schools converged for the prestigious tourney. Students, parents, and a variety of school personnel handled a variety of tasks over the two days to help keep the tournament running smoothly.
“It was a little bigger, more full than it had been the last couple of years, we were very happy with the amount of people we had,” said Scott. “We had 14 guys wrestle.”
Several of those 14 earned medals and tops among them was Cameron DuBois at 160 pounds.
“He went 6-0, took first place in Pool A and was voted the Most Outstanding Middleweight Wrestler,” Scott said of DuBois. “In the finals, he beat a tough, athletic kid from Elk Grove, 5-4, that was a fun match for him to win, a real good match.”
Also taking first place honors for the Cougars was David Ryan in Pool D, going 5-1 at 160 pounds.
“It was the best he has ever looked,” Scott said of the young wrestler. “Also looking the best he has all season was Marco Mendoza, he went 5-1 in Pool B at 170 pounds and took first place.”
Also medaling was Alex Jimenez at 120 pounds, the freshman going 6-1 for a third place finish in Pool B.
“We were very pleased with him,” said Scott. “Rhys Panero, coming back from injury, looked much better here and he went 5-2 at 126 pounds, took second place in Pool B.”
At 195 pounds, Stephen Mendez compiled a 3-3 mark for a fourth place finish in Pool C; Eric Espinoza was second in Pool C with a 3-3 showing at 220 pounds.
“Daniel Gonzalez, battling sickness, went 5-1 at 220 pounds for second place in Pool A,” Scott said of the senior fighting hard in the toughest bracket.
Competing hard for the Cougars but not medaling were Kyle Jimenez, who went 3-0 at 120 pounds before his fourth match ended in an injury default, taking an injury that will keep him out of competition for a couple of weeks.
Nick DeWeerd went 3-3 at 126 pounds in Pool B, Ethan Krieger wrestled hard at 138 pounds for the Cougars in Pool C and Livius Seung went 4-3 at 132 pounds in Pool B.
“He lost two close matches and was just outside medaling,” Scott noted.
Hugo Alcala took that mats at 145 and looked good, going 4-3 in Pool C.
“He’s looking very good, getting stronger every weekend,” agreed Scott.
At 152 pounds, wrestling in Pool A, Fabricio Gallo went 4-2.
“Overall we were very happy with the way the guys wrestled,” Scott explained. “We got three first places, a second place in Pool A, we were real encouraged with how much they have improved, especially David Ryan, Stephen Mendez, Alex Jimenez and Hugo Alcala, they have improved a ton.”
As far as the weekend, which included the two days of Engel action and then an Escalon Wrestling Club event on Sunday, Scott said wrestling coaches and team members are grateful for all the support.
“I just want to thank all the community for their help, we had a tremendous amount of help and both days we were done by 5 p.m.,” Scott said of the tournament action. “For the snack bar, we had nothing but compliments; most people stayed and ate there.”
Engel Tournament sponsors included Quality Service - The Tom McCoy Family, Escalon Lions Club hosting the coaches luncheon and Hashem Naraghi.
“Kids in my class came all day to help, Mr. Loureiro was in there Saturday to help, we had a ton of community support and we also thank Conni Bailey (medical assistance); unfortunately we kept her busy with a bunch of injuries.”
Among them were a dislocated knee and some possible concussions, with Kyle Jimenez the only Escalon wrestler going down with an injury over the two days.
Escalon starts its dual meet season tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 13 on the road at Hughson with both the JV and varsity in action; start time is 6:30 p.m.
Next week, they take on both Ripon and Hilmar in what Scott said should be a very interesting week in terms of Trans-Valley League placement.