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Shorthanded Sierra sweeps double dual at Manteca

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Billy Fishburn, Sierra’s 126-pound standout, gets Mario Hernandez of Manteca in position for a fall during a Valley Oak League double-dual meet hosted at Winter Gym Wednesday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED January 24, 2013 1:12 a.m.

Despite a plague of injuries and illnesses, Sierra was able to muster its first two wins of the Valley Oak League season in a double-dual showdown across town at Manteca High Wednesday.

The Timberwolves first dispatched Sonora 40-30 before holding off host Manteca, 36-21. Sonora came away with a split by beating Manteca, 43-24.

“The flu is killing us,” said Sierra coach Alex Nuanez. “We have six or seven guys out sick, and four guys who are injured.”

Most affected by the absences was Julian Semenza, a 211-pounder who was slotted for heavyweight. Manteca’s Steven Martinez, with an obvious size advantage, was able to power his way to a 6-2 lead through two periods, and that allowed him to take two stalling violations in the third for the win.

Alex Loaiza (113), one of Sierra’s top pound-for-pound grapplers, was held out for the Sonora contest but was inserted into the lineup for Manteca to get the Timberwolves easy points via forfeiture. Nuanez said he wanted the lower-weight standout to heal up for Saturday’s Rumble in the Jungle IX at Pitman High.

Both Sierra and Manteca forfeited four matches, one being a double forfeiture at 106 pounds. Of the seven bouts between the crosstown rivals, four were claimed by the Timberwolves (2-2).

Billy Fishburn dominated his 126-pound match, mounting a 7-0 lead before stopping Mario Hernandez in 2 minutes, 39 seconds. Reid Maestas (170) pinned Michael Padilla in 1:26, and Mason Merrilles (220) outlasted Daniel Clemons, 9-4. Each of the three Sierra wrestlers also won against Sonora.

Hunter Wheeler (182) grinded out a 3-0 decision over Travis Burciaga despite absorbing a hard slam and later getting dropped on the back of his neck in the second period. After taking a few minutes to recover, Wheeler was able to carry his slim lead to the end.

The match started and ended with forfeiture wins for Manteca at 147 and 140.

Matt Wilkerson earned the first win for Manteca (1-4) with a 3:38 pin of Anthony Santiago in the battle of 195-pounders. On the final contest of the night, Buffalo 132-pounder Jacob Burttram came up short of pinning Josh Dollar in the final minute and settled for a 14-2 major decision.

“Buttram did an excellent job of working several different moves,” Manteca coach Jon Vazquez said. “January is about the time we want to start peaking and they’re all showing moments of that. I know our team record isn’t showing, but all the kids are where they should be right now with a couple of weeks before (the VOL tournament). A lot of guys are trying new stuff and this is the time to do that.”

Weston Ranch 39, East Union 30

Brandon Mungarro was the only Cougar to win two matches Wednesday as Weston Ranch also hosted powerhouse Oakdale for a tri-meet. Oakdale cruised past Weston Ranch 54-3, and East Union, 69-6.

“Against EU we failed to show up and were outwrestled,” Weston Ranch coach Pat King said. “We got outclassed by Oakdale. I thought my guys were ready, but we can’t lose four straight one-point matches (170-220).”

Weston Ranch (4-1, 15-7 overall) meets Kimball at Manteca for another double dual next week. The winner of Weston Ranch-Kimball qualifies for the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Duals.

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