Tournament action fills out the schedule early on for wrestling and Cougar squads – varsity, JV and girls – have been busy getting in plenty of matches.
Head coach Derek Scott said the varsity boys went to Tokay over the weekend while the girls and the JV boys traveled to Atwater.
“We took about three-quarters of the varsity team to Tokay,” Scott said. “Every guy got at least to the round just before the medal matches.”
Some Cougars also came home with medals in what was a very successful showing at a tough event.
Wrestling but not placing were Izaac Sipma at 152 pounds and Manuel Diaz at 160. Taking sixth place, earning his first varsity tournament medal, was Julian Gutierrez at 182 pounds. Sean Vassallo also took sixth place at heavyweight.
Luis Garcia earned a fifth place medal at 106 pounds in his first varsity tournament.
“They were all very competitive,” Scott said of his fifth and sixth place finishers.
Third place medals went to Aidan Krieger, going 4-1 at 132 pounds, and Zac Freeseha, going 3-1 at 220 pounds.
“Both of them lost early on and had to come back, they both looked good,” explained Scott.
Two champions came out of the varsity tournament for Escalon – and both had to go overtime to get there.
“Alex Jimenez, at 138 pounds, had to go triple overtime and he defeated a Masters qualifier from last year,” Scott said of Jimenez going 4-0 for the tournament. “Brad Hagglund, at 170 pounds, went into quadruple overtime to get the win.”
Heading into the medal rounds, Escalon was in seventh place as a team and, with the strong showing in that round, ended up taking third place overall in the tournament.
“We went 4-0 in that final round, in the championship and third-fourth place matches,” Scott said. “We really simplified things; just told the guys to be solid, be tough.”
The strategy worked, with seven Cougars coming home with medals.
For the varsity girls, five suited up for the Atwater Tournament. Kaitlyn Ruiz wrestled but did not place; Holly Harding pinned down third placed honors at 150 and Kylee Freeseha took second place at 11 pounds.
“Mikayla Vega, at 121 pounds, went 3-0 and won every match by pin fall,” Scott said of the championship run.
Also claiming championship honors was Julia Casillas at 131, going 3-0 with a trio of pins.
The JV boys had six medalists out of seven wrestlers competing in Atwater. Pietro Orlando wrestled but did not place. Cameron Loureiro was third at 152 pounds and four Cougars earned second place honors. Austin Roberts lost his championship match in overtime at 132 pounds, Casey Vassallo was second at 145, Sebastian Snow second at 195 and Dylan Dugo taking second at heavyweight.
“At 182 pounds, winning his first tournament title and just blowing everyone away was Jacob Redding,” Scott said of the 182 pounder steaming through the competition.
This week, the varsity boys will be at the Elk Grove Tournament, JV boys at Beyer and the girls at Livingston.