Modesto Junior College was the host site for a wrestling meet on Dec. 20 and 21. Due to finals the teams got a late start with wrestling starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20. Approximately 30 teams from the area competed at the event.
Escalon took 10 wrestlers and brought home medals in eight weight classes from the eight wrestlers who made it through the team’s first two day event of the year, said head coach Derek Scott.
At heavyweight, Sean Vassallo came home with a medal. Also placing was Aidan Krieger, who nailed down seventh place honors.
“He just needs to get his confidence back up to win the close matches,” said Scott. “Continuing to improve every time out taking seventh was Jacob Redding at 160 pounds. He’s getting in shape, getting much sharper each time out.”
Fighting hard all six matches taking an impressive fifth at 106 pounds was JW Mills.
“JW is young and not the most naturally talented, but his energy and toughness give a chance to win almost every match,” Scott noted. “He’s just flat out tough; most kids struggle with someone in their face for six minutes.”
After a slow start bouncing back to take fourth place at 113 was Luis Garcia.
Scott pointed out that, along with Mills, the two biggest standouts of the tournament were Manuel Diaz, going 5-1 at 170 pounds, and at 132, freshman Christian Rowe.
“Manny battled hard staying with tough positioning all six matches and the coaches were real happy for Manny. Christian going 6-1 and battling all three rounds in his only loss against a state ranked kid, we were ecstatic for Christian. We knew he had potential, but being young we weren’t sure how he’d do this first year. We’re real impressed how quickly he’s coming along mentally and buying into our solid no nonsense approach.”
Rowe was the wrestler that Scott said most wrestled to his ability and potential at this meet.
Also looking solid going 4-1 losing in a close match in the finals to a state ranked competitor at 160 pounds was Brad Hagglund, finishing in second place.
“Brad just has to score a little better when the opportunities arise,” said Scott.
The team is greatly improving and the recent additions of football players Owen Nash, Sebastian Snow, Garrett Nash, Preston Ball and Luke Anderson will help, said Scott, as he looks for the squad to really kick off once everyone gets into shape.
The team was coached at the MJC event by Derek and Ray Scott, Ray Krieger, Eric Rowe and Kirk Smith with assistance from parent volunteer Jeremy Mills.
The team will compete again on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 3 and 4 at Escalon High School at the annual Lloyd C Engel varsity tournament with over 30 teams expected to attend. Wrestling starts at 9 a.m. both days and is expected to conclude by 6 p.m.
Women’s West Coast Tournament of Champions
In a girls tournament hosted Dec. 20 and 21 in Rocklin, the event featured over 60 teams and, with college and boys tournaments also being hosted in the building, there was a lot going on for the four EHS girls competing for the first time in the tough event.
Having a tough weekend going 0-5 was Amelia Otero.
“She just needs to keep working and believe in herself when things don’t go as well as we’d like,” Scott said. “After having a tough Friday Alysha Herrera bounced back on Saturday going 2-3 for the weekend. She has to just keep grinding getting used to the high school competitiveness.”
After having a great first day, but struggling to get over second day losses was Kaylee Freeseha, going 5-2 to take sixth place.
“She wrestled hard as she usually does. She left one winnable match on the table or she’s in the top four, right where she should be at this type of tournament,” Scott said. “She keeps plugging away with her bulldog approach. She will get there by the end of the year.”
Going 4-2 taking fifth place was Julia Casillas.
“Julia just has to learn to be more mentally consistent at these big tournaments. She has to learn to let bad matches go so they don’t affect the next match,” noted Scott.
Coaching the trip were girls Head Coach Johnny Costa and assistant coach Erica Lopez.
SATURDAY, DEC. 14
Girls Varsity, JV at Livingston
EHS had 10 JV boys wrestle and had seven boys medal and three bring home gold.
Wrestling hard taking home third place finishes were Ryan Trick and William Davis, winning his first match. Continuing to improve taking runner-up honors were Luke Oliver and Aiden Freitas. The three boys looking great bringing home titles were Hunter Budd, Christopher Miller and Jorge Gonzalez.
For the girls four wrestlers competed with three coming away with titles. The champions were, in her first EHS tournament Amelia Otero, also looking dominant bringing home titles were seniors Kaylee Freeseha and Julia Casillas.
Varsity at Elk Grove
Ten wrestlers competed for EHS in the extremely tough tournament with Elk Grove, Vacaville and nationally ranked Clovis High School also competing.
“For the level of the tournament being our first action of the year and our relative inexperience I was pleased with our efforts,” said head coach Derek Scott. “Most of our guys saw if they believe in themselves we are at our best good enough to compete with anybody. We need to believe in ourselves more and not think so much about winning and losing, just competing hard. We need to fight longer and be consistent longer in hard tournaments.”
Showing some good potential were JW Mills, Christian Rowe, Sean Vassallo and Manuel Diaz. They competed hard with the four of them all tying for seventh with the adjusted format to make it a one day tournament.
“Really standing out was Brad Hagglund. Brad lost 3-2 in the semifinals to a state ranked kid from Vacaville. Then he bounced back to win in quadruple overtime to take third,” Scott noted. “Brad always hangs in there and competed hard to be right in big matches against elite level competition. Brad is a great young man and a quiet leader who leads by example.”