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Lancers sink rivals to end VOL with winning record

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Sierra’s Billy Fishburn takes a shot at East Union 132-pounder Peter Barrington during a marquee matchup at Lathrop High Wednesday.


POSTED January 31, 2013 12:11 a.m.

LATHROP — East Union wrapped up the Valley Oak League dual season with wins over Sierra and host Lathrop Wednesday, but the Lancers ultimately came up short of their goal.

With competitive losses to Weston Ranch and Kimball, East Union ended up 4-3 but without a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Team Duals. Champion Oakdale and runner-up Weston Ranch are the qualifiers out of the VOL.

The Lancers took advantage of five forfeitures to get past Sierra 48-30 and held off winless Lathrop, 42-36. Sierra (3-4) dispatched Lathrop, 46-29.

“We placed third last year, and my goal was to place better than that,” EU coach A.J. Reindel said. “I would have been happy with third again, but we had some key injuries before the season even started. The team that I had at the beginning of the year isn’t the team that I have now.

“We had some young guys step in and do pretty well, so overall we did fine.”

Sierra had some notable efforts at the lower weights.

Billy Fishburn opted to wrestle up a division to face East Union standout Peter Barrington at 132. Fishburn took a 9-6 lead into the third period, and after he was taken down he was able to hold on for a 9-8 decision victory. Fishburn later pinned Lathrop’s Enrique Betancourt in 3 minutes, 27 seconds.

It’s a nice momentum boost for Fishburn, who has worked through an early shoulder ailment, going into the postseason tournaments

“I’ve been training a lot harder lately in practice, so it was good to have it pay off and win that one (against Barrington),” he said. “In the third period I knew (Barrington) was going to keep trying to hit the same move so I was just watching out for it the whole time.”

Sierra 160-pounder Lucas Widmer also came up with a big win, squeaking out a 2-0 decision over Lathrop veteran Omar Guzman. Widmer also pinned EU’s Zach Fielding in 1:20. Alex Loaiza (138) had a quick night with two pinfall victories, and Josh Dollar (126) posted decision wins of 14-6 and 10-5.

East Union’s Gerardo Cuevas (120) was the only other grappler to earn two wins on the mat Wednesday, scoring both with second-period falls. Fellow Lancer Jesus Vasquez (145) had the quickest pin of the night, stopping Lathrop’s Leo Fernandez in 38 seconds.

Lathrop’s top wrestler, 106-pound Alex Garcia, ended the dual season without a workout, with both Sierra and Lathrop forfeiting against him. The Spartans went through growing pains this season under first-year coach Vincent Garcia, but he has high hopes for the future.

“We had a lot of beginners, a lot of first-year wrestlers come out this year,” he said. “We had a big group at the start and ended up with about 20 kids, but every single one of those 20 kids are working hard.

“I’m surprised with their development, so in the next year or two we should be all right. This last meet is the best one we’ve wrestled all year, so that’s encouraging.”

East Union, Lathrop and Sierra are now shifting their focus on the VOL Championships set for Saturday, Feb. 9 at Kimball High. East Union standouts Sarah Phillips and Mariah Wheeler along with Lathrop’s Jasmine Ivey will compete in the SJS Girls Invitational this Friday and Saturday at McNair High.

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