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Last man standing
Widmer was the areas best hope for a berth at the CIF state tournament
Sierras Lucas Widmer made his third consecutive appearance at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament, narrowly missing out on a state berth. - photo by JOHN-JOEL GRIFFITHS


• Alex Garcia (120), Lathrop junior: Despite a disappointing end to his season on the opening day of the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, Garcia still made his second consecutive trip to the sectional tournament and ultimately came up short of the CIF State Championships after going 1-2. He finished second at the SJS Division IV Tournament and took second place at the VOL Championships, both against Oakdale’s Trevor Williams.

• Nick McGill (195), East Union, senior: McGill was not only the Lancers’ lone representative at the SJS Masters Tournament, but he pieced together a valiant effort in his final shot at qualifying for state. He finished up Masters 1-2 and didn’t make it to the second day, but he still had a gutsy effort while doing so. McGill finished fourth at the divisional tournament, which followed a third-place finish at the VOL Tournament the week before.

• Edgar Gonzalez (128), Ripon senior:  This past year’s only Trans-Valley League champ for his weight division, Gonzalez put together an admirable post-season run. He too finished 1-2 at Masters and failed to make it to the second day, but he ended the previous two tournaments with a pair of runner-up finishes – both against Summerville’s Andrew Brennan. Brennan defeated Gonzalez for the SJS Division V Tournament title before eliminating him 2-1 at the Stockton Arena.

• Andrew Olaya (132), Weston Ranch, junior: The VOL’s only champion from this past season extended his campaign all the way to Masters, where he finished 0-2 and was bounced during his first-ever appearance. Olaya took fourth place after coming up short in the consolation finals during the SJS Division IV Tournament at Vista Del Lago in Folsom.

• Steven Martinez (HW), Manteca junior: The Buffaloes’ heavyweight finished his junior campaign by going 1-2 at the SJS Masters Tournament, but prior to that final showing Martinez finished second at the Division IV Tournament against El Dorado’s Zachary Brazell. Martinez finished in the top four at the VOL’s to punch his ticket to the sub-section tournament.

— John-Joel Griffiths

Lucas Widmer had a giant pair of shoes to fill heading into his senior season the mat.

The Sierra High standout came up shy of the CIF State Tournament, but he made it further into the postseason than anybody else from the area and did a commendable job living up to the family’s rich athletic history.

For his efforts and despite a local rival getting the best of him at every major stop in the postseason, Widmer has been named the Bulletin’s 2014 All-Area Wrestler of the Year.

He’s only the second Timberwolf to ever win the honor.

“The kid is honestly amazing,” Sierra head coach Alex Nuanez said. “He knows he should have gone to state. But hands down the Oakdale kid just beat him. Sometimes you get that draw.”

Widmer, a three-sport athlete at Sierra for all four years, had a near-impossible draw to close the first day of Masters – a tournament he was making his third consecutive trip to.

Widmer was bumped heads with Oakdale junior Frank Trent with his season on the line, a Valley Oak League rival who had beaten him two times in the last three weeks and three times overall this year prior to this winner-take-all matchup.

Widmer drew Trent for a fourth time in the section’s consolation brackets.

The stakes were never higher. 

The winner would advance to the second day of the sections, and the winner of the first consolation bout of the second day would punch a ticket to state.

“Our biggest chance at (making it) to state was Lucas,” Nuanez said. “And he wanted to do it for himself.”

Trent went on to take third in the 171-pound bracket after winning seven straight elimination matches after being knocked out of the championships in the first round.

It was rare and coincidental for this reason.

The last wrestler from the Sac-Joaquin Section to accomplish that feat at Masters was Widmer’s assistant head coach Alex Nuanez Jr. in his junior season when he too ran the table in the consos.

The son of the school’s head coach is also the only state qualifier from Sierra.

Aside from Nuanez Jr., Widmer is also the only Timberwolf to ever win the honors of the Bulletin’s All-Area Wrestling MVP award.

“I didn’t reach state, which was my goal, but looking back I had a pretty good career,” said, Widmer, who went 2-2 at Masters and took second at the VOL Tournament as well as the Division IV Tournament all against Trent.

Widmer didn’t make it out of Masters and his final 3-1 loss may have been his final wrestling match of his life, but that isn’t the so-called end of the world for the 6-foot, 3-inch, 185-pound standout.

He still has a bright future in plenty of other aspects of his life.

Widmer has been going to work on his family-owned and operated farm since he was a young boy. The family makes a business out of growing and selling alfalfa and hay, and he’s been helping out for as far back as he can remember.

He currently competes on the track and field team as well, but his heart is on the football field. 

Widmer has been selected to compete in the 41st Annual Lion’s North-South All-Star Game on June 14, at Tracy High and plans on taking his talents to the next level after graduation.

“I’ve been talking to San Jose State and the University of (Nevada),” Widmer said. “Right now it’s a little too late for a scholarship, but their offering a preferred walk-on and I’m just trying to see where I would fit in a program.”

Widmer says he’s leaning toward going to Reno, but he has also been connecting with Azusa Pacific where his older brother Grant currently plays. Grant (Sierra, Class of 2011) played football and basketball in high school.

Lucas had a stellar senior campaign at wide receiver and caught for 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns, including 157 yards on seven catches and two TDs in the Timberwolves’ final playoff game – a 42-37 loss to Colfax on the road.

Lucas has another elder brother, Raymond Widmer (Sierra, Class of 2010), who coach Nuanez says was a solid wrestler during his prep career and played football as well.

The boys’ father, Mr. Don Widmer, was a different kind of football player and wrestler in high school and collegiately. The eldest Widmer was a dominating wrestler in his days at Manteca (Class of 1966).

Don won the Northern California title, twice, and went undefeated his senior season before there was a CIF State tournament that combined Southern California as well.

Lucas’ father is an inductee of the Manteca Hall of Fame of Athletics, too.

“He had a great upbringing,” Nuanez said of Lucas. “I coached that young man since he was 6 or 7 years old. He has great parents and his dad was an All-American in college and a state champion in high school.”

Lucas’ dad went on play football at UCLA where he was a standout linebacker. Don even defeated Jim Plunkett out of James Lick-San Jose – who went on to be a Super-Bowl winning quarterback for the Oakland Raiders – in his senior season of wrestling for the Buffaloes.

The youngest Widmer plans playing receiver at the next level, a position he felt comfortable with and more than excelled with at the prep rank.

He is now running varsity track, which is in contention to bring home a VOL championship this spring.

“My two brothers have always helped me throughout sports,” said Lucas, who was born and raised in Lathrop on a farm with about 500 acres. “They’ve taught me so much. And my dad and my coaches, they’ve kind of set the standard for me.”

Lucas currently has a 3.9 overall GPA and just finished the first semester of his senior year with a 4.25. Widmer is focusing on track and football for the offseason.

The shoes Lucas was trying to slip into may have been a couple of sizes large this past year, but he’s still shadowing the footprints of his father – a local legend -- that have led him to a great amount of success and respect thus far throughout his young adulthood and adolescence.