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Senior Night, Section Tournament Keep Cougar Wrestlers Busy
Sophomore Aiden Krieger battled to an 8-3 win in action here against Sonora during Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section wrestling competition. The Cougars tied for third place in Division 5. Dennis D. Cruz/The Times
Escalon’s Mikayla Vega, a senior, works to gain the upper hand in action against this Sonora opponent in opening round of Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 competition at Lincoln High School in Stockton. Dennis D. Cruz/The Times

Eight seniors were recognized for their efforts on behalf of Escalon High School on Wednesday night, prior to a Trans-Valley League match against Hughson. The Senior Night gathering saw Alex Jimenez, Izaac Sipma, Ethan Krieger, Julian Gutierrez, Donnie Smith, Zac Freeseha, Dylan Dugo and Mikayla Vega honored.

On the mats, the Escalon girls took an 18-0 forfeit win, improving to 3-3 in TVL action. The JV boys also got a win by forfeit and improved to 5-0.

“At the varsity level, we had eight matches wrestled,” said Escalon head coach Derek Scott. “We won 52-12 which put us at 5-1 in league.”

Team captain Alex Jimenez, at 132 pounds, got a 6-1 win over Hughson’s toughest wrestler, while Miguel Souza won by fall at 138 pounds. At 145 pounds, Garrett Nash won by fall and Izaac Sipma got a 5-2 win at 152 pounds. Ethan Krieger won 3-0 at 160 pounds, Brad Hagglund won 9-2 at 170 pounds and Julian Gutierrez won by fall at 182. At 220 pounds, Zac Freeseha put an 11-1 win on the books.

Saturday, Jan. 26 the Cougars traveled to Stockton for the Sac-Joaquin Sections, competing in Division 5 at Lincoln High School.

“We were the number three seed going in and we went first against Sonora, the number six seed,” explained Scott.

The Cougars crafted a 40-27 win over the Wildcats, with victories from Aiden Krieger, 8-3 decision at 126 pounds; Alex Jimenez, 13-0 at 132; Izaac Sipma, 8-2 at 145; Garrett Nash, win by fall at 152; Ethan Krieger, win by fall at 160; Julian Gutierrez, win by fall at 182 pounds.

Semifinal round action saw the Cougars get to face off with TVL rival Hilmar and the Yellowjackets defeated Escalon by a 54-15 final.

“The girls were allowed to wrestle with us,” Scott said.

Taking the mats at 113 pounds, Mikayla Vega lost by pin in the third round and Julia Casillas took a loss via forfeit at 120 pounds. At 126 pounds, Aiden Krieger pinned his opponent while Austin Roberts lost via pin at 132 pounds. Alex Jimenez also took a tough loss in the semifinals as did Ethan Krieger, a last second loss at 160 pounds. Hagglund got a 6-2 win at 170 pounds but the gutsiest win of the day came from Nash at 152 pounds.

“He was losing in the first round, was on his back most of the time, had a bad bloody nose,” said Scott. “But he just kept going, wore the guy out and pinned the guy in the third round.”

Hilmar got the overall win, moving on to face Calaveras in the final. The Calaveras team came out on top there and Scott said Escalon tied for third in the D5 competition.

Next, they head to Hughson for the Trans-Valley League meet on Saturday, Feb. 2 starting at 9 a.m.

The girls will be back in action on Feb. 9 at the Divisionals, being hosted at Central Valley in Ceres.