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Wrestlers Grappling With Illness, Opponents
Shown in action at an earlier tournament this season, Escalons Nick DeWeerd works to lift his opponent here and also nailed down a victory in the 120-pound bracket during a Jan. 14 league meet against Mountain House. He also took part in the Rumble in the Jungle tournament in Turlock. Marg Jackson/The Times

Illness has kept many Escalon wrestlers off the mats in recent action, but the team did pin down a Trans-Valley League win at Modesto Christian on Jan. 27 and had some good performances at the weekend’s Rumble in the Jungle at Pitman High in Turlock.

“Tuesday against Modesto Christian, the JV did not have a match, we won by forfeit,” said head wrestling coach Derek Scott. “For the varsity, we won 58 to 15 with a very weakened unit.”

The best wins for Escalon on the varsity mats, Scott pointed out, included a 9-6 decision by Livius Seung at 126 pounds and a 4-3 overtime thriller at heavyweight for Daniel Gonzalez, who moved up to fill that weight class.

Also getting victories for the Cougars in matches wrestled were Rhys Panero at 113 pounds, Fabricio Gallo at 138 and A.J. Camarena at 220 pounds, who moved up a weight class as well.

“Saturday we went to Pitman and between varsity and JV, we brought only 12 guys,” said Scott. “That was what I had healthy and able to wrestle out of both teams.”

Junior varsity medalists were David Ryan, third at 145 pounds with a 3-2 record and David Escove, going 2-2 at heavyweight for fourth place honors.

Varsity wrestlers earning some hardware were Gallo, 126 pounds, 4-1, fifth place; Camarena, 195, 3-1, third place; and Gonzalez, 220 pounds, 3-1, third place.

Also wrestling for the Cougars but not placing were Troy Bedell at the JV level and varsity wrestlers Nick DeWeerd at 120, Seung at 126, Mark DeHaven at 126, Cameron Dubois at 145 pounds and Daniel Wallace at 170 pounds.

In the girls division, Adela Ley-Han got in some work as she prepares to represent Escalon this Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Girls Masters at McNair High School in Stockton.

Scott said he is hoping to see his wrestlers get back to health this week, as it is a crucial time for the Cougars.

“We go to Hilmar (Feb. 4) and the winner clinches the league title,” he said of the two undefeated TVL teams meeting on Wednesday night. “Either way, we will be the one or two seed in our league, and we will wrestle at Lincoln in Stockton on Saturday for the team dual sections, if we have everybody healthy we should do well.”