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Medals, Trophy For Cougar Wrestlers At Trio Of Tournaments
Busy with tournament action during the holiday break from school, Escalon's grapplers showed well at the various competition venues.

On Dec. 21 and 22, they attended the MJC Western Invitational at Modesto Junior College, taking a dozen wrestlers.

"It was a 44 team tournament," head coach Derek Scott said. "We had five medalists."

Earning a seventh place finish was Thomas Martin, 5-2 at 189 pounds, with Chase Keener taking sixth, 5-3, at 160. Fifth place finishes were earned by Charlie McDonald, 5-2, 152 and Bryan Toy, 6-2, 112 with Anthony Rodriguez coming away with a third place medal, 6-1, at 119 pounds.

"As a team we did good, we were eighth out of 44 teams and I was really pleased with Charlie, Chase and Thomas, it was the first medal for Charlie and Chase and we hope to build on that," Scott said.

Christian Franks jus missed the medal round, going 3-2 at 103, with Craig Haarberg going 2-2 at 125; Cody Bandini, 1-2, 135; Tyler Gonzales, 2-2, 140; Tyler Draper, 2-2, 145; Mike Gutierrez, 0-2, 171 and Anthony Aho, 3-2, heavyweight.

Traveling to the Sierra Nevada Tournament in Reno for matches on Dec. 27 and 28, Toy was the only medalist, taking eighth place with a 4-3 mark at 112 pounds.

"There were 98 teams there from five states," Scott noted. "We took 12 wrestlers."

Those going 0-2 in the tough tournament were Haarberg, Gutierrez, Brandon Collins at 215 and Aho. Going 1-2 were Gonzales, Draper and McDonald. Cody Bandini, 3-2, Chase Keener, 2-2 and Martin, 3-2, all finished in the top 12. Franks again just missed out on the medal round, taking ninth place with a 5-2 mark.

"My goal going in was to place one guy," Scott said of the prestigious event. "That was our second big tournament in a row and this time, we had five guys still going in the last round, so that was very encouraging."

Wrapping up the long holiday period with a trip to Livermore for the Granada Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 5, the wrestling Cougars brought home a third place trophy, finishing third out of 32 teams.

Placing were Christian Franks at 103 pounds, 4-1, for fifth place overall; Bryan Toy, 112, 4-1, second; Anthony Rodriguez, 119, 3-2, fourth; Tyler Draper, 140, 4-2, fourth; Charlie McDonald, 152, 5-1, third.

Haarberg went 1-2 at 125 pounds, with Bandini 2-2 at 130. Also wrestling were: Gonzales, 135, 3-2; Keener, 3-2, 160; Gutierrez, 171, 1-2; Martin, 189, 2-2; Justin Wade, 215, 1-2; Joe Cowan, heavyweight, 2-2.

"Our goal each week is to see improvement," Scott said. "This week, Franks, Toy and McDonald continued to wrestle really well, also we were happy with the effort from Tyler Gonzales and Tyler Draper, plus Joe Cowan in his first varsity tournament, getting a couple of wins."

Scott said it's critical that the Cougars keep working, even during the recent holiday break, because they need to maintain weight and stay sharp on the mats, with league action starting this week.

"We'll have one of our toughest matches, with Waterford, on Wednesday, then we have our Engel Tournament (Friday and Saturday)," the coach noted. "We need everybody focused this week."