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Wrestlers Set Sights On Trip To Section Meet
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Fourth as a team at the Small School Sections in Lindurst on Friday and Saturday, Escalon will send seven wrestlers on to the next level. Those seven will move on to the Section competition Feb. 25 and 26 at Pitman High School in Turlock.

"As a team, I felt we did as good as could be expected, I felt that everyone wrestled up to their ability," said coach Derek Scott. "We had 10 guys wrestle, Jon Manzo hurt his knee again and was not able to attend, Ryan Lippincott did not make it in as an alternate."

Manzo had qualified for the Small School Sections by placing high enough in the Trans-Valley League meet earlier this month but the injury forced him to withdraw. Lippincott was an alternate in his weight class but no one dropped out that qualified at the TVL meet and he was not able to attend.

Of the 10 wrestlers that did go, the Cougars had seven of them in medal rounds.

Highest finish was the second place showing of Myles Bishop at 135 pounds, going 3-1 over the two days of competition.

"He lost a heartbreaker in the finals," Scott explained. "He was ahead and then got beat at the end but we still feel he has a good chance at qualifying for state."

At 103 pounds, Brian Toy was 3-2, good for fifth place.

At 112 pounds, Andrew Schuler went 4-1 in his matches and earned a third place showing, Kevin Machado went 4-1 at 130 pounds and also took third.

"Andrew wrestled really well throughout the tournament and Kevin just showed again how really tough he is, the guy had him in the final round and he just battled back to win it, showed a tremendous amount of heart."

Also qualifying to move on to the Section meet were Ryan Sughrue at 152 pounds, taking third place with a 4-1 record and Brett Mynear at 160 pounds, going 5-1 to earn third place.

"He was the surprise of the tournament," Scott noted of Mynear. "This is his first year of varsity wrestling."

Mynear showed a lot of determination and was smart in his matches, sending him to the next round.

At heavyweight, Anthony Oste will also move on, going 4-2 and taking fifth place.

"We qualified eight out of the 10 kids we took and the other two lost close matches," Scott said.

The two wrestlers that did not qualify for Section competition were Atom Garcia, who went 1-2 at 119 pounds and Joey Machado, also going 1-2 at 140 pounds.

In the 125 pound category, Ryan Ashlock went 3-1 before having to withdraw with an injury default.

"He did qualify to Section but he will not go," Scott said, noting that the wrestler may have to undergo shoulder surgery. "He wrestled the last few weeks of the season with that injured shoulder, we're just hoping he won't have to have surgery."

With several wrestlers ready to move on, the focus this week will be preparing for that next level of competition. The top six at the Section meet in each weight class qualify for the state meet. Escalon will be well represented at Pitman for the Section event, with Toy, Schuler, Kevin Machado, Bishop, Sughrue, Brett Mynear and Oste all still in the running for the state meet.