STOCKTON – It came down to one bout.
After going 2-1 in pool competition Saturday in the Cougar Duals at Weston Ranch High, Lathrop and Manteca met for first place in Division 2.
The score was tied 36-36 going into the final bout between Lathrop’s Cristian Garcia and Seth Owings of Manteca at 126 pounds with Garcia pulling out a 15-13 decision and bringing home the trophy for the Spartans.
“He did not like to tie up and that is the way I like to wrestle,” Garcia said of Owings. “Every time I would try to tie up, he would take a shot and I would have to defend.
“But I am going to work on that to get ready for when I see him in the season.”
Lathrop defeated Weston Ranch 51-18 and Manteca downed Sacramento’s River City 49-24 to open Division 2 action, setting up a Valley Oak League showdown for first place between Manteca and Lathrop. In pool rounds, Lathrop beat Johansen of Modesto 51-21 and Union Mine of El Dorado 42-34, losing only to Franklin of Elk Grove 57-12.
Garcia finished 4-0 for Lathrop with Deavin Young (170) going 3-1, Keonnee Linnell (132) and Alejandro Torres (182) going 2-1 and Brian Folgar (285) finishing 2-2.
“We wrestled very well,” Lathrop coach Vince Garcia said. “Half of our team was J.V. guys and most of them are first-year wrestlers. They all stepped up and won some matches for us and we took home the trophy. It felt good.”
Manteca’s lone loss in pool action was 51-24 to Vista del Lago of Folsom with the Buffaloes beating Lodi 63-12 and Center of Sacramento 49-18.
“That last one was a tough one,” Manteca coach Mark Varnum said of the tilt between Garcia and Owings. “He is a first-year wrestler and I am very proud of him.
“Our goal today was to win three out of five and we did that and I am really happy with some of our guys, such as Justin Berg (182) and Steven Martinez (285).”
Michael Padilla (170) went 4-1 with four first-round pins for the Buffaloes.
“I felt good,” Padilla said. “I felt stronger than most of my opponents, so I would just get in there and do my thing.”
For Manteca, Berg was 4-1 with four pins, Martinez 3-0 with three pins, Freddy Farias (145) 4-1 and Matt Maddox (220) 3-0 with three pins.
Weston Ranch downed Argonaut of Jackson 43-30 in pool action and defeated Washington of Fremont 33-24 before running into the buzzsaw that is Buhach Colony and losing 63-6. After losing to Lathrop in Division 2 competition, the Cougars defeated River City to end the day.
Weston Ranch found itself forfeiting five bouts each match because of illness and injury.
“Going into every match we were down 30-0,” tournament director Pat King said. “But it seemed like throughout the day they were getting a little bit better, and as a staff that is all we can look for.
“We look for this type of tournament where kids can get five guaranteed matches and that will be the case in our next tournament which will be the Sacramento Duals. We are pushing the duals tournaments this year so we can get those guaranteed matches because we are such a young team.”
Alex Angulo 145) was 4-1 with four pins for the Cougars.
“It was a good day,” Angulo said. “We are proud of how we did.”