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Seven Grapplers Moving On To Masters Meet In Stockton
Ten of the 14 wrestlers that Escalon took to the Divisionals on Friday and Saturday in Hilmar made it to the second day of competition on Saturday, and seven of those 10 are moving on to the Masters Meet in Stockton.

"We had four that got eliminated the first day," coach Derek Scott said of those that ended their season on Feb. 19.

Those included Brendan Wing at 140 pounds, going 0-2 in the Divisional meet; Shane Silveira, 1-2 at 171; Travis James, 1-2 at 215 and Jason Johnstad, who went 1-2 at heavyweight.

"It wasn't a lack of effort," Scott said, noting that all wrestlers met up with experienced opponents and fell short of advancing.

Making it to the second day, but then finishing up their seasons at Hilmar, were Damon Hopkins, who went 2-2 at 112 pounds and Anthony Munoz, who went 2-2 at 135.

Toughest break of the Divisionals went to Andrew Baroni, who took sixth place and battled in an overtime match before going out with a 2-3 mark at 152 pounds.

"By the third match (Saturday) he was out of gas," Scott said, noting that it was disappointing for Baroni, who was seeming to peak at the end of the season and ready for a legitimate shot at a Masters Meet berth.

"We do have seven that will move on," Scott explained.

Taking fifth place with a 4-2 mark at 160 pounds was Colin Keener. The top five in each weight advanced to Masters.

"Colin had a good day (Saturday), he beat two guys that had beaten him earlier during the year," Scott said of the senior moving on.

Three Cougars ended in fourth place, including Dylan Furtado with a 2-2 mark at 125 pounds, Jason Robbins at 130 with a 3-2 finish and Adrian Cortes, 3-2 at 145 pounds.

Furtado didn't catch any breaks, Scott said, but persevered for the trip to Masters. Robbins, though young, showed himself to be a solid performer in a pressure situation.

"Adrian Cortes avenged losses he had earlier this season to Ripon and Waterford," Scott said, noting that all three fourth place finishers did a good job. "We were really pleased with them."

Brandon Williams went 4-1 and took third place at 189 pounds.

"He got a real bad break and lost by one point," Scott said of failing to get to the first-second place match. "That (third place) still leaves him in decent shape for next week."

Escalon did have two weight class champions at the Divisionals, both going 4-0.

Johnathon Costa, at 103 pounds, and Christian Franks, at 119, came home with top honors.

"Costa had only one point scored on him the whole tournament and that's because he let a guy escape once," Scott said of the standout lightweight wrestler. "Christian came back in the finals to beat a Central kid, he kept a 1-point lead in the third and he had come from behind to get the lead."

The top seven in each weight class at the Masters Meet will advance to the State Meet in Bakersfield.

The Masters will be in Stockton both Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27.

Scott said by finishing first at the Divisionals, Costa and Franks give themselves a little advantage heading into the next round.

"As long as they wrestle well, they are in an excellent position to move on," Scott explained.

The Cougars as a team finished third in the Divisionals, with Central Catholic first and Calaveras second.