It was the 'Rumble in the Jungle' at Pitman High School in Turlock on Saturday, with the Escalon wrestlers coming home with top honors and a solid all-around effort.
"We had four champions," said coach Derek Scott, noting that the team as a whole also tallied enough points to take second overall in the prestigious tournament, finishing only behind Golden Valley out of Merced.
Earning first place at the tournament were Tyler Lawrence, going 5-0 at 132 pounds; Jason Robbins, compiling a 4-0 mark at 138 pounds; Johnathon Costa, leading the way with a 5-0 record to take first place at 170, a weight that saw the top three places go to Cougars; and A.J. Camarena, 4-0 at 182 pounds.
"A.J. was the surprise of the tournament, he had a great day," explained Scott. "Tyler Lawrence was dominant, Robbins looked really good and won every match in dominant fashion."
Costa returned to his normal wrestling weight of 170 (after dropping to 160 for one event) and was once again impressive, Scott said.
The 170 weight class was stacked with Cougars, as Garrett Wade wrestled the best he has all season and finished second to Costa. Matt Gallego was third at the weight.
Along with Wade in second place and Gallego in third, other Cougars medaling were Josh Redding, third place at 145, going 3-1.
"Josh really impressed us, he is getting better every weekend," Scott said.
Fourth place honors at the tournament went to Colton Camara, 3-2, 126 pounds; Austin Jones, 2-2, 132. Fifth place finisher was Austin Martinez, 3-2, 152 pounds at the varsity level, with Jorge Cortez going 2-2 at 160 pounds to take eighth.
Junior varsity medals on Saturday went to second place finishers Justin Acevedo at 106 pounds, Johnathan Dietzel, 120; Jonathan Moreno, 152; Daniel Gonzales, 152; Frank Martins, heavyweight.
In third place were Khyle Delucchi, 106; Johnathan Beaver, 113; Trenton Busch, 126; Andrew Gastello, 132; Hunter Calton, 152; Travis Parks, 220 pounds.
Escalon also had a JV champion in Paxton Brogan, taking first place honors at 160 pounds.
"Paxton looked really good, it was the best Justin Acevedo has looked and by far, the best tournament Martins has had," Scott said. "Travis Parks also looked good for us."
Earlier in the week, the JV took a 78-6 win over Modesto Christian and the varsity won 70-9, with Costa taking an 11-0 win at 170 and Wade moving up to 182, where he got a win by pin.
This week, the Cougars have Senior Night and a crucial match with Ripon on Wednesday, Jan. 30 with the JV at 6:30 p.m. and the varsity at 7:30 p.m.