Manteca heavyweight Steven Martinez took second place in the A bracket Saturday in the Lloyd C. Engel Wrestling Tournament at Escalon High School.
“It was a pretty good weekend overall,” Buffaloes coach Mark Varnum said. “If we want to keep moving forward as a program its good for us to wrestle against the high level of competition at that tournament.”
After three qualifying matches Friday, the wrestlers were grouped into three brackets for the placement part of the tournament. Martinez was undefeated in qualifying competition and that earned him a berth in the A bracket.
Three Manteca wrestlers placed in the C bracket. Carlos Hernandez (285) was second and Austin Welch (160) and Jonathan Luna (195) both finished fourth.
Ruben Gallegos (145) and Ruben Bocanegra (195) from East Union both finished first in the C bracket.
“This was a tough tournament, but we had a couple of kids that wrestled well,” Lancers coach A. J. Reindel said. “My better wrestlers were in brackets that were loaded.
In the B bracket for East Union, Damen Cabanes (126) was second and Jason Betlej (120) was fourth. Jaysen Reindel (215) was 4-0 on Friday but ran into section-ranked wrestlers on Saturday and did not place.
Alejandro Tovar (220) and Brian Folger (285) brought home D-bracket gold medals for Lathrop.
“We go to the Escalon tournament every year because we know that our wrestlers will get two days of great wrestling matches,” Spartans coach Vince Garcia said. “I’m very happy to see that all the guys wrestled their hearts out both days of the tournament. They all placed except for Keonnee Linnell (138) who won all his first-day matches and was the only freshmen to make it in to the A bracket in his weight class.
“All in all it was a good tournament for Lathrop wrestling.”
In the B bracket for the Spartans, Mario Ragosa (220) took 4th place, Daniel Pinedo (152) was second in the C bracket and in the D bracket Joshua Suarez (120) finished third.
Sean Murray and Branden Rullan brought home gold medals and helped lead Sierra to finish second in team competition, but the two grapplers got to the top of the medal stand through different routes.
Rullan (113) was dominant from start to finish.
“Branden Rullan dominated his class and put on a takedown clinic,” Timberwolves coach Alex Nuanez said. “In the finals he pinned his opponent in the third round.”
Murray (182) made things a little more interesting. He wrestled back out of the B bracket to defeat the No. 1 seed in the first round and came from behind to beat the No. 2 seed in the finals by a point.
“Sean was down by four and hit a five-point move to take the lead with 28 seconds left in the last round of the finals,” Nuanez said.
Alex Loaiza (132) and David Saenz (285) finished second for Sierra. Kody Justis (183) and Jacob Hampton (195) were fourth, Vincent Marquez (120) and Jarrett Penner (152) were fifth and Anthony Andrade (160) was sixth.
“All our kids wrestled well and we were happy with things we did,” Nuanez said. “But Sean Murray showed what heart and determination could do in the mat.”
Joe Rios Memorial
With more than 60 teams in the two-day tournament at Chico High, four Ripon wrestlers made it to the second day with only Tristan Smith (285) placing at seventh place.
And for Smith to place in that field was quite an accomplishment.
“The 285 bracket was stacked,” Indians coach Glen White said. “He lost decisions to the No. 10- and No. 12-ranked guys in the state. That was maybe the toughest division in the tournament.”
The other Indians wrestlers to make it to second day were Matthew Fisher (106), Brent White (138) and Javier Hernandez (145).
Girls Napa Valley Invite
Weston Ranch’s Mia Hill (106) found out the meaning of a tough bracket.
She had three wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the state (101, 106 and 111) wrestling at 106 and she still managed to go 4-2 and finish sixth, pinning the girl ranked No. 2 in the state.
“This is rated the toughest girls tournament in the nation,” Cougars coach Seth Davis said. “We may not have placed a lot of girls but we got a lot of valuable experience.”