Three wrestlers from Escalon made it to the State Meet in Bakersfield.
Three came home empty handed, but not for lack of putting their best effort out there.
Overtime battles, injuries, one-point losses, it all added up to a final tough weekend of competition for the Cougars. Representing Escalon on the state meet mats were Tyler Lawrence at 132 pounds, Johnathon Costa at 170 and Dominic Freeseha at 220 pounds.
“Tyler Lawrence went 1-2 and did not place, but he had a great season,” head coach Derek Scott said of the junior.
Lawrence cruised to a 14-2 decision in his first match, but then lost in the second round by a one-point margin in a low-scoring bout.
“The second match was pretty much the match to place,” Scott noted, as the wrestler that beat Lawrence in the second round did go on to take a state medal. “That kid ended up beating him 2-1 and we didn’t bounce back well after that.”
The final match of the season for Lawrence was a 4-1 loss, ending his campaign.
For senior Costa, the 1-2 mark in his final state appearance wasn’t what he was looking for, but he battled bad luck as well as an injury along the way.
“By far the hard luck story of the meet,” agreed Scott. “His first match, he got the kid ranked number one in state, it was a horrible draw.”
Scott said the match went into quadruple overtime, with Costa eventually losing a 3-2 decision to eventual state medal winner Corey Griego of Sultana.
“That kid easily rolled into the finals after that,” added Scott. “It was just a heartbreaking match, physically and emotionally.”
Costa was able to bounce back, though, and won his second round match by a 5-3 decision. That started him on the way back, Scott said, and they were hopeful of getting into the medal round.
“In his third match, going for a takedown at the end of second round, he separated his shoulder,” said the coach. “He wanted to go back out there for the third round and he ended up losing 3-1.
“For Johnathon, that wraps up a real good career, he was a four time division champ for Escalon and a three time state qualifier, he was looking better in the third match than the second, it was just a real unfortunate way to end.”
For junior Dominic Freeseha, a tough draw to start the tournament paved the way for an 0-2 mark.
“He also ended up drawing the guy who (eventually) took second, that was a 12-5 loss,” Scott said.
The second match saw Freeseha push his opponent to the limit, finally falling in a 4-3 decision.
“That was a great job,” Scott said of Freeseha’s effort, noting that the 220-pounder usually is closer to the 200-pound mark when he steps on the mat.
“We were right there, all three of the guys,” Scott said, adding that if any breaks at all had gone their way, there might have been a couple of medals coming back to Escalon.
“So it was encouraging but frustrating,” explained Scott, encouraging they wrestled well, frustrating they had tough luck and didn’t get any hardware. “Still, it wraps up a great season for us and I again, just really want to thank all the parents and coaches that helped us.”