At Modesto Christian on Saturday, Feb. 13 for the Trans-Valley League meet, the Escalon Cougars had both JV and varsity wrestlers on the mats.
The JV team concluded its season in second place overall but brought home four champions from the league meet.
They also had five second place finishers, so the nine JV Cougars in the meet all had solid endings to their season.
Second place honors went to Donnie Smith, 132; Ethan Krieger, 138; Izaac Sipma, 145; Julian Gutierrez, 152; Alfredo Zarate, 182.
“Champions for us included David Ryan at 152 pounds, he is by far the most improved wrestler, he beat Julian in the finals,” head coach Derek Scott said of the all-Escalon finale.
Christian Rodriguez, at 160 pounds; Jacob Broome at 182; and Dylan Dugo at heavyweight, rounded out the title winners for the JV Cougars. Broome topped teammate Zarate for his JV title.
“We were second in TVL, breaking a 15-year (championship) streak,” Scott added, noting that Ripon took first place at the JV level this season.
For the varsity boys, all 13 wrestlers at the TVL meet qualified for the Division V Small School Sections (Divisionals), which Escalon will host on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 19 and 20, starting at 11 a.m. each day.
Taking fourth place in the tournament was heavyweight Erik Espinoza, with Alex Jimenez (113), Rhys Panero (126) and Trenton Busch (138) nailing down third place honors.
“We had nine guys in the finals,” Scott said.
Second place finishers for Escalon were Livius Seung, 132; Fabricio Gallo, 145; and Hugo Alcala, 152.
Also taking second were Stephen Mendez, 182 pounds and Zac Freeseha, 195.
“They were keys to winning the tournament, I felt,” Scott said, as those two in particular picked up crucial wins at a time when Ripon – which was also bidding for the league title – was gaining momentum. The wins helped Escalon solidify a first place finish and claim the TVL crown outright.
Champions for Escalon were Kyle Jimenez at 120 pounds, Cameron DuBois, 160; Marco Mendoza, 170; and Daniel Gonzalez, 220.
“As far as the team, we had a good day, we beat Ripon 214 to 206 to seal our 11th straight TVL title,” Scott said.
Kyle Jimenez was named Most Outstanding Lightweight Wrestler, Daniel Gonzalez chosen Most Outstanding Heavyweight Wrestler and Scott picked up Coach of the Year honors.
“It was nice for the kids in the program to get recognized and I have a ton of good assistant coaches,” Scott noted of the year-end honors.
Now, the Cougars get ready for another busy weekend, with the top four in each weight class from the Friday-Saturday Small Schools action qualifying for the Masters Meet.