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Season Continues For Eight Cougar Wrestlers

Out of 12 wrestlers from Escalon that made it to the Divisionals, nine came home with medals and eight qualified for the next round, preparing for the Masters Meet this week.

The Divisionals, or Small School Sections, were hosted at Lindhurst High on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20 and 21. The top five in each weight class there qualified for the Masters Meet and Escalon qualified eight out of the 12 wrestlers they took.

Ending their seasons at the event were Martin Castillo, 119 pounds, who went 3-3 and earned a medal for sixth place but fell one spot short of the Masters. Also closing it out were Anthony Munoz, 2-2, 135; David Gonzales, 2-2, 140; and Joseph Antonacci, 3-2, 145.

"All four were able to wrestle well," head coach Derek Scott said of those Cougars who finished at the Divisionals. "David Gonzales hadn't been able to practice much because of a shoulder injury, Anthony wrestled well and for Martin and Joseph, a couple of seniors, that was the best they have wrestled all year."

Fifth place finishers for Escalon making it to the Masters Meet were Colin Keener, 3-2 at 160 pounds and Tyler Gonzales, 4-2 at 152.

"Colin has wrestled well here at the end of the year and Tyler bounced back and wrestled well," Scott said.

At 125 pounds, Dylan Furtado provided the surprise of the tournament by finishing fourth with a 4-2 record as a freshman.

"This was a big tournament for him and he's one of just a few freshmen to make it this far," Scot pointed out.

Taking third was Paul Brown at heavyweight, going 4-1. He has had an injury-plagued season but is now getting close to peaking and has the chance to continue his season.

"We had four guys in the finals and we got three seconds and one first," Scott said.

At 171 pounds, Charlie McDonald took second, losing a 3-1 decision in overtime and compiling a 3-1 mark for the tournament. Brandon Williams was second at 189 pounds with a 3-1 mark.

"With Brandon, he absolutely has wrestled to the complete best of his capability this season," Scott said of Williams getting himself a medal. "With Charlie, he lost to Mackey from Ripon, they have gone back and forth this year, they both have a really good chance for state."

Thomas Martin was second at 215 pounds with a 3-1 mark, losing by a 2-1 decision in the finals.

The lone champion of the Small School Sections for Escalon was Christian Franks, who went 4-0 at 103 pounds.

"He won by fall (pin) in the finals and we're really excited with how he's looking," Scott said.

The Cougars finished with second place honors overall in the Section, behind Central Catholic. Calaveras took third.

"Our goal going in was to get second and we did that," Scott pointed out. "Realistically, we have three that can go to state and we could get lucky and sneak a fourth one in there."

The Masters Meet, the final stop before the State Meet, will be hosted at University of the Pacific in Stockton on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 27 and 28 staring at 9 a.m. each day. The top seven in each weight class there move on to the State Meet in Bakersfield, March 6 and 7.