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Ripon Topples Escalon Wrestlers In TVLMatch
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Missing out on a chance to clinch the Trans-Valley League crown, the Escalon wrestlers fell to rival Ripon in Wednesday night action at home, 42-36.

"It was really frustrating," said coach Derek Scott. "We won as many matches as they did but every single one we lost, we lost by fall and that's just unacceptable."

If only a couple of those wrestlers had managed to avoid being pinned, said Scott, the point swing would have been enough to allow the Cougars to clinch the title outright. Now, they have to rebound with a solid effort Jan. 26 against Livingston to assure themselves at least a share of the title.

"We just have to keep fighting," said Scott.

In the JV competition against Ripon, there was only one contested match as the Cougars won 72-0. Tyler Draper won by pin at 140 pounds.

"At the varsity level, we came out flat, we may have still been down a little bit from our tournament but that's no excuse," Scott said, noting that the team needed to be more aggressive.

Wrestlers and their outcomes in the varsity action included Brian Toy, win by pin, 103 pounds; Andrew Schuler, lost by pin, 112; Atom Garcia, 119, 11-6 win; Lucas Pitassi, 125, lost by pin; Kevin Machado, 130, win by pin. Also, Joey Machado, 135, lost by pin; Myles Bishop, 140, win by pin; Jon Manzo, 145, 15-8 win; Ryan Sughrue, 152, win by pin; Justin Chandley, 160, win by pin. In the upper divisions, the going was tough for the Cougars, with the final four wrestlers all pinned in their matches. They included Ryan Lippincott, 171; Jesse Jimenez, 189; Isaac Cherry, 215; Anthony Oste, heavyweight.

Saturday, Escalon played host to the Mel Focha JV Tournament, getting a chance to send the younger wrestlers to the mats.

"Some of our kids hadn't wrestled in a month and I felt like it really showed, they were a bit rusty," Scott noted. "There were over 300 kids there and we did have seven medallists."

The wrestling was done in pools with so many competitors turning out, and medals were awarded to the top three finishers per pool in each weight class.

For Escalon, Martin Machado earned a first place medal at 145 pounds and second place medallists were Cody Cheary, 125 pounds; Tyrell Swass at 189 and heavyweight Chris Silveira. Finishing in third place were Blake Mynear, 125; Nick Hanson, 130; and Derek Coyle, 145 pounds.

JV wrestlers competing that did not place included Cody Bandini, Tony Perez, Tyler Draper, Travis Bonds, Jose Herrera, Jake Greer, Daryl Craig, Chase Keener, Nico Flores, Vince Rocha, Heath Dougherty and Brock Mynear.

Grapplers Jake Merrill and Scott Cannon did not finish the tournament due to disciplinary reasons, said Scott, but the Cougars did field a full squad at the event and got several young wrestlers solid time on the mats.

"The kids have not had too many matches, the way our league is," Scott pointed out. "Our guys that medaled did a good job, Martin Machado had a great day and it was very encouraging to see Swass and Silveira medal."

Highlight of the tournament, however, was the effort put forth by Nick Hanson at 130 pounds.

"This was his first athletic event ever, in any sport, and he won a match," Scott said. "That was the most exciting moment of the day, all of our guys were cheering for him."

Now, the team will get ready for the showdown with Livingston, kicking off with the JV action at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26.

"If we win, we should take co-league honors," Scott said. "There's still a chance we can win it outright depending on what happens at the league tournament."

But the Cougars have to win Wednesday and Scott said he is looking for a solid effort from all after the disappointing performance against Ripon. The varsity will then travel to Morro Bay for a weekend tournament Friday and Saturday.