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Second Place Showing For Wrestlers At Hughson Duals
Putting together by far their best week of the season, Escalon wrestlers went a combined 4-1 between a Trans-Valley League match and the Hughson duals.

Head coach Derek Scott said he was very pleased with the performances.

"We beat Hilmar in a 'must win' situation, really, if we want any chance for a league title," Scott explained of the home match on Wednesday, Dec. 21. "Our JV boys won 54-24 and wrestled really well, the varsity got through with a win, 39-33."

At Hughson on Dec. 22 for the duals, Scott said it was a good arena for seeing what the varsity could do against some tough competition.

"We handled Livingston, 55-24 and then we beat Ceres, 52-19, they were a very good team, they ended up taking third."

In the finals against Golden Valley, the Cougars lost but Scott said capturing second was a big confidence and morale booster for the squad.

"We had four or five matches that could have gone either way so the score got away from us a little but by far, as a team, this was the best we have wrestled."

Bouncing back from a tough week earlier, top efforts came from Chaz Welborn, Cole McCoy and Colton Camara, said Scott, while newcomers in the upper weights, Collin Strasser, Dominic Freeseha and Alan Gonzalez, also showed promise. Travis James made his return to the mats, coming back from a football injury suffered late in the gridiron season.

Scott said along with the overall better performance from the team, he pointed to four wrestlers that have emerged as leaders and offer a steadying presence in the line-up.

"Tyler Lawrence has really matured as a leader the guys look to, Dylan Furtado is a great teammate, really stable," Scott said. "Jason Robbins is such an easy guy to coach and you know he's going out there to give you six good minutes and Johnathon Costa has come out with a great attitude and is a good teammate."

Those four, said Scott, provide a springboard for the others, with a solid chance for wins at all four weights meaning the rest of the group needs to come up with three more on any given night to get the team win.

"These are just four real solid guys," Scott said, noting that the team will build around them as they move forward into the season.

This week, several varsity grapplers are competing in the Sierra Nevada Tournament in Reno, which runs Dec. 28 and 29.

"We have a good chance at bringing home some medals, if these guys perform like they're capable of doing," Scott said.