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Several Cougar Wrestlers Moving On To Masters Meet
DIVISIONALS PLAQUE
Members of the Escalon varsity boys wrestling team and coaches pose with their second-place plaque at the Divisionals competition hosted by Hughson. The Cougars were second to Sutter but will have several wrestlers moving on to Masters. Photo Contributed

Divisionals action saw both the Escalon varsity wrestling boys and girls in action on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11.

The girls went to Central Valley High School in Ceres, with coaches Seth Davis and Julia Casillas accompanying the team.

“They took six wrestlers, three placed and two qualified for Masters,” head coach Derek Scott said.

Finishing her season with a ninth-place showing was Dani Roybal, wrestling at 126 pounds.

The two qualifying for Masters were Isabella Alcala, with a seventh-place finish at 106 pounds, and a fifth place showing for Jessica Freitas at 143 pounds.

“At Masters, the top six finishers go to state,” Scott said, with both those Cougar boys and girls qualifying from Divisionals preparing to compete at Stockton Arena on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18.

“For the boys, we took 12 guys,” Scott said of their Division 5 competition, hosted in Hughson. “We were hoping to get six or seven qualifiers; we placed eight and qualified seven so I was very pleased with that.”

Taking fifth place, named as an alternate to Masters, was Talan Reider at 152 pounds.

“He just had a bad match at the wrong time,” Scott said of the wrestler.

In fourth place, John Konradi wrestled for the Cougars at 170 pounds and is in his first year with the sport.

“He did a great job, he had a great match in the semifinals, especially for his lack of experience, how tough he has been, we are very happy for him,” Scott noted.

Third place finishers for Escalon included Frank Rodriguez at heavyweight and JW Mills at 113 pounds.

“Frank wrestled, by far, the best he has all year,” said Scott. “JW lost by a point in the semifinals, it has been a frustrating year, he has been injured a lot.”

Four finalists qualified for Escalon but only three took the mats for the first/second place battle.

“At 220 pounds, David Ingles took second, we pulled him as a safety precaution so he did not wrestle in the finals,” Scott explained.

With the second-place finish, however, he does move on to Masters.

At 184 pounds, Anthony Jones also took second place.

“He lost to a ranked kid from Calaveras in the finals but earlier, he pinned a kid from Sutter that had beaten him a couple of weeks ago,” said the coach. “It’s nice to see Anthony believe in himself, he has really come on the last couple of weeks.”

Winning a tough match in the semifinals, Christian T. Cruz then lost in the finals at 120 pounds, taking second.

“Our lone champion, Luca Cerasi, was really showing some heart, he was ahead by 10, then got caught on his back in the third, but got out of it and came back to win by five points,” Scott said of the first place finisher for Escalon at 106 pounds. “That just shows how tough he is.”

So, the next stop is Masters and Scott said it will take the best effort of the qualifiers to move past this round.

“It will be an uphill battle but most of our guys are wrestling the best they have all year,” he said.

As far as the Divisionals, Escalon took second place as a team, behind champion Sutter, which is in the division this year for the first time.

Though losing by a wide margin to Sutter, Scott said the Cougars were a solid runner up, defeating third place Hughson by 60 points.

Masters competition begins at 9 a.m. both days at Stockton Arena, Feb. 17 and 18.