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Trio Of Champions Crowned At MJC Wrestling Invite
After tough 3-point losses in both the JV and varsity matches at Ripon on Wednesday, several Escalon varsity wrestlers put together a solid showing at the MJC Western Invitational, including three bringing home championship honors.

"We were glad to see the kids do a real nice job at MJC," said coach Derek Scott, noting that it was tough to take a total team defeat in the Trans-Valley League opener at Ripon.

"Our JV lost 38-35, guys that did well were Austin Jones, Kenny Ring, Clayton Keener, Matt Gallego and Danny Felix, they all won by fall," Scott said. "We're just giving up way too many forfeits and some of our beginners just aren't coming around fast enough."

Scott said some of the younger wrestlers are still learning what it means to be part of the team, making sure they make weight and are able to get on the mat and be competitive, not giving up six points via forfeit or loss by pin.

For the varsity against Ripon, it was a 40-37 loss with wins on the mats from Cole McCoy, 126 pounds; Colton Camara, 132; Tyler Lawrence, 138; Dylan Furtado, 145; Jason Robbins, 152; Jon Costa, 170 and Joey Gutierrez, heavyweight.

"On the positive side, McCoy, Camara and Gutierrez all won matches we didn't know if they could win," Scott explained. "And Austin Martinez, although he didn't win, he wrestled well."

Again, said Scott, it comes down to wrestlers at all levels "doing their job" to contribute to the team scoring.

At MJC, there were opening round matches on Friday, Dec. 16.

"We brought 14 wrestlers and eight made it to the second day," Scott said. "We got five medals from those eight."

Most surprising was the seventh place effort of freshman Matt Gallego at 152 pounds.

"We're really happy with him," Scott said of the freshman having a good mat sense already.

"We had four kids in the finals, Costa took second at 160 and he has had a lot of matches in two weeks," Scott explained of the grappler getting into shape after football season.

Winning championships at the invitational were Lawrence at 132 pounds, Furtado at 138 and Robbins at 145 pounds.

"Tyler Lawrence looked great the whole tournament and Jason Robbins pretty much dominated every match," Scott said. "For Dylan, he beat a Summerville kid in the finals, 6-4, a ranked opponent so we were very pleased with that."

The wrestlers host Hilmar today, Dec. 21 in a league meet, then go to the Hughson Duals for non-league action on Thursday, Dec. 22. Some varsity wrestlers will then attend the Sierra Nevada Tournament at Reno on Dec. 28 and 29.