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MACKEY BACK FOR SECONDS

Ripon grappler is area’s last of 16 from area in state qualifier

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MACKEY BACK FOR SECONDS

Manteca heavyweight Zach Williams goes to work on East Union's Devon Woodall.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin/


POSTED February 27, 2009 5:39 a.m.
RIPON — Ripon High senior Ryan Mackey has grown all too comfortable with his back pressed up against the wall.
But it is his past experiences with first-round losses at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Wrestling Tournament that has him still alive for another day.
After a stunning 3-2 loss in overtime to John Cusick of Will C. Wood, the section’s third-ranked 171-pound grappler won three straight consolation matches Thursday at Spanos Center on the campus of the University of the Pacific.
Mackey is the last of 16 area wrestlers remaining. The fourth round of consolation matches begin at 9 this morning, and the top seven placers in each weight class advance to the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships.
In his sophomore year, Mackey lost his first match and ended up finishing one win away from making it to state. He dropped his opening bout again last year but crawled his way through the consolation bracket to place fifth. Mackey was the area’s lone state qualifier last season, and he turned in a solid 2-2 effort.
“I have to solve the curse,” Mackey said after outpointing Summerville’s Tyler Domser 9-2 in his final match. “But that gives me a lot of confidence (having been through it before). I’m used to it. I just have to keep thinking to that I have to move forward one match at a time.”
Mackey was dominant in his other two matches, pinning Eric McCray (Grace Davis) in 3 minutes, 57 seconds and scoring a 13-3 major decision over Cody Miller (River Valley).
Sierra sophomore Alex Nuanez came close to sneaking into the second day of competition.
In the final consolation round of the night at 160 pounds, he controlled Chris Zawaideh (Rodriguez) for 2 ½ periods. But Zawaideh cut Nuanez’s 4-1 lead in half with an escape and tied it with a takedown with 40 seconds to go.
Zawaideh later took him down again with just under 20 seconds remaining to clinch the 6-5 win. Nuanez wrapped up the tournament with a 2-2 record.
Teammate Oscar Castro (189) was the only area wrestler to win his opening match, 9-7 against Chris Gales (Armijo), but he dropped his next two.
His last match was one of the day’s most thrilling. Down two with under a minute left against Alexander Ventura (Hogan), Castro was able to force overtime thanks to two stalling violations. But Ventura was able to muster up enough energy to win it in triple overtime, 11-8.
State hopeful Marco Castaneda, ranked eighth in the section coming in, missed out on a golden opportunity to qualify for the second day. With an easy path ahead of him, East Union’s standout 119-pound junior was upset by Jeff Edwards (Golden Valley), losing by pinfall in 1:16.
After stopping Todd Shumway (El Camino) in 1:49, Castaneda was eliminated by freshman Austin Branum (Del Oro), the sixth-ranked 119-pounder in the section, via a 2:01 fall.
“It was tough, man. I just started off really bad,” Castaneda said. “I don’t know, I just didn’t wrestle the way I should’ve.
“I made it way farther than I thought I would, but I really thought it was possible for me to go even farther.”
Weston Ranch’s top wrestler, Travis Bowen (135), also a junior, went 1-2 but made Juan Aguilar (Atwater) work to advance to the next round.
Bowen seemed to have it under control, but Aguilar caught him off balanced and ended up on top as the two combatants stumbled onto the mat. Aguilar recorded the ensuing pin 35 seconds into the second period.
“I just rode him too high and he popped up,” Bowen said. “I’m definitely going to take advantage of this experience. I didn’t make it past the first day of (the Division IV tournament) last year, so I’m going to get in better shape for next year and try and go farther.”
Also competing in the masters tournament Thursday were: Weston Ranch’s Chris Rodriguez (1-2 in 103s), Sierra’s Robert Howard (1-2, 119), East Union’s Jason Cortez (0-2, 125), East Union’s Matt Neves (injury default, 140), Sierra’s Aiden Foster (1-2, 145), Weston Ranch’s Raymond Cortez (0-2, 171), Weston Ranch’s Chris Contreras (0-1, forfeit, 189), East  Union’s Albert Aguilar (0-2, 215), East Union’s Devon Woodall (0-2, 285), Zach Williams (1-2, 285) and Ripon’s Matt Baker (0-2, 285).

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