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Wrestling Success Continues For Cougars On Local Mats

In a scrimmage match against Oakdale’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams and Buhach Colony this week, the Cougars went 3-0 in preseason wrestling action.

“We got good performances from Braydon Vega and Gino Stern,” head coach Derek Scott said of the lightweight grapplers who are actually giving up several pounds but more than holding their own in the early going.

“Mikayla Vega also looked good, she beat all the boys she wrestled,” said Scott. “Overall we handled Buhach, we had a close match against Oakdale and we had two unlikely heroes.”

Those two, who helped secure the win, were Jose Vargas, who got a win by pin at 195 pounds and Dylan Dugo, who brought home the victory.

“We were down by two and Dylan won the last match by fall in the third round,” Scott said of his young heavyweight. “That got us the win.”

On Saturday, the JV wrestlers went to Calaveras while the girls and the varsity team attended the McNair Tournament in Stockton.

Top performers for the JV team were Marco Silva at 126 pounds, Brad Hagglund at 152 and Roman Gonzales at 160 pounds, all taking first place honors. Finishing second were Julian Gutierrez, 170 and Jose Vargas, 190.

“We are pretty green but the young guys have looked good so far,” noted Scott.

At the McNair Tournament, Braydon Vega went 2-1 for third place, while at 113 pounds Garrett Nash took second with a 3-1 mark.

“Those two did very well,” Scott said. “Also vastly improved over last year, one of the hardest working guys on the team, Alex Jimenez went 4-1 at 126 pounds, he lost in the finals in double overtime and took second.”

Livius Seung went 3-1 for third place honors at 138 pounds. Ethan Krieger was fourth at 145 pounds, Izaac Sipma sixth at 160. Tyler Swinford went 2-1 before having to go out on an injury default. Returning varsity grappler Stephen Mendez was 3-1 for third place at 182 pounds, Eric Espinoza crafted a 3-1 record at 220 pounds for a third place showing as well.

Returning after a year away from the mats, Christian Manzo put together a 3-1 showing and lost his final match in the last few seconds, settling for second place. He lost to teammate David Ryan, who went 4-0 at 160 pounds for the first place honors.

“David has been working so hard,” Scott said, with the effort paying off with the tournament title.

But perhaps the surprise of the tournament, Alfredo Zarate brought home title honors at 195 pounds.

“It was his first varsity tournament ever,” Scott said. “He won in double overtime in the finals, he went 5-0 for the tournament.”

On the girls side, Julia Castillas took the mats for the first time, wrestling at 126 pounds and winning her first match, then losing the second before also bowing out with a nagging injury.

Adela Ley-Han went 2-2 for fourth place at 111 pounds, Mikayla Vega steamrolled her way through that weight class, 3-0 for first place.

“We have lean numbers for the girls but they all look solid,” Scott said. “Our guys are real competitive, this wasn’t a huge tournament but everybody work hard.”

The wrestling girls will be at Livingston on Saturday, Dec. 10 with the JV boys at Beyer and the varsity boys at Elk Grove.