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Wrestlers Pin Down Two TVL Wins At Home

In what has been very much and up and down season, members of the Escalon High School wrestling team had an interesting week, piecing together a pair of Trans-Valley League wins.

That, after taking roughly a week off due to a new wave of COVID, having wrestlers in and out of the line-up and losing head coach Derek Scott for 10 days due to COVID as well.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, the team took on Hughson High School. At the JV level the Cougars won a forfeit-laden match by a final score of 30-3. At the varsity level the score was Escalon 47, Hughson 27.

“We did a good job finding a way to win the dual, but we lost several matches where we were ahead or could have won with a strong third round,” said coach Scott.

Of the victories on the mat, there were a few that stood out to the coaches.

“Big wins for the team were by JW Mills at 113 pounds, Anthony Jones at 195 and at 220 pounds, J.P. Lial,” Scott said.

On Thursday night, Jan. 20 the Cougars hosted rival Ripon in the old gym on the EHS campus as the new gym was hosting basketball games.

At the JV level the Cougars were 30-6 winners.

For wrestlers at the varsity level the Cougars had a much stronger performance than they did against Hughson, winning the match Escalon 54, Ripon 15.

“We did a much better job on Thursday,” Scott pointed out. “Coaches were most impressed with Lavin Gouzenne, Matt Rangel, Josh Graham, Talan Reider, and Luis Garcia.”

Scott said he was pleased overall, since it was such a disjointed couple of weeks for the squads.

“The kids had an odd in and out week. They were in and out as was I as the coach and we took care of business,” he said.

Action continued on Saturday, Jan. 22 as both the JV boys and varsity girls were at Gregori.

“Doing well at the tournament was Christian T Cruz, taking fourth place. He’s starting to look really good, showing the team and himself he is ready for varsity now,” Scott explained. “Also looking really good, winning his second tournament, was Frankie Rodriguez, who went 5-0 and took first place. Frankie when he can be consistent with practice really shows some great form.”

For the girls, going 3-1 and bringing home second place honors was Isabella Alcala.

“Isabella is really looking tough. She practices and competes very hard,” Scott said.

Coaching at the Gregori event were Travis James, Dani Busch, and Ray Scott.

Also on Saturday, a partial varsity squad went to Pitman with head coach Scott finally being allowed to rejoin the team. The COVID and injury reduced squad took seven wrestlers to Pitman.

“Of the seven wrestlers we had three wrestlers that placed. Of the four who did not place, three of them got put out in very winnable matches,” Scott summarized. “We have had a very inconsistent season with some of the students’ and coaches’ COVID issues and other attendance issues. We have had very few matches.”

Making the most of the opportunity at Pitman, however, were Matthew Rangel, Talan Reider and Christian Rowe.

Rangel and Reider both came home with seventh place medals.

“They wrestled very hard. Their technique is really looking good and they’re getting in shape,” said Scott. “Christian Rowe took fifth place, losing a close match. He is doing a good job; he just really has to work on the intensity required to win close matches.”

Head coach Derek Scott and assistant Eric Rowe coached the team at Pitman.

“We have to really buckle down these next two weeks to get ready for the playoffs,” Scott added. “At this point we have to learn to practice the intensity required for post season success.”

Tuesday, the Cougars were scheduled to take on Livingston in a rescheduled match, heading out on the road for the Jan. 25 meet. They are also scheduled to go to Hilmar on Wednesday, Jan. 26.