Out of shape and rusty, Ripon High senior Andy Yciano was in his comfort zone once he hit the mat in a dual meet at Lathrop High Wednesday.
The 220-pounder hopes Ripon’s season-opening match isn’t his last after two shortened stints in previous years.
Yciano came through for the Indians, who led Lathrop by three points going into his match — the final one of the contest. He climbed out of an early 3-0 hole and pinned Oscar Munoz in 2 minutes, 46 seconds to put the finishing touches on a 43-33 comeback victory for Ripon, which won the last five duels.
It was a double dual for the host Spartans (2-1), who bounced back from the loss with a 47-28 blowout of Central Valley.
“I was ready for this, and I’m glad I was able to walk away with the win,” Yciano said. “My teammates are like brothers to me, so it feels good to win for them.”
Yciano made a splash as a freshman by taking second in the Trans-Valley League Championships. Academic ineligibility and a reoccurring back injury derailed his sophomore and junior campaigns, so he is motivated to finally tap into his potential.
“I thought it was going to take a lot longer than it did (to get the rust off), but once I hit that mat it’s like being at home. I’m used to it,” Yciano said.
It was a back-and-forth match that started with six straight pins after Lathrop forfeited the opening bout at heavyweight. Ripon’s Edgar Gonzales (120) posted the quickest finish of the night, as he stopped Ricardo Aravzo in 14 seconds during that early stretch. Ripon standout female Hailey Owens (113) won by fall in 1:25.
Earning pins in the lower weights for Lathrop were promising freshman Alex Garcia (106, 1:50) and senior veterans Andrew Aquino (126, 1:14) and Luis Oregel (132, 4:57).
Lathrop took a 24-18 lead on Jeremy Asican’s 3:57 pin in the 138-pound match and looked to be on its way to victory after Barry Bautista (145, 15-8 decision) and Christian Pena (152, 1:36 fall) followed suit with their own wins to make it 33-18.
Nathan Triplett (160) sparked Ripon’s late rally with a pin in 1:21. In the 170-pound match, Lathrop’s Omar Guzman dropped a 12-2 major decision to standout Trevor Daniel but kept his team in it by not getting pinned.
Most of Lathrop’s grapplers competed at higher weight divisions. Guzman weighed in at 156 pounds and looked outmatched at first glance before tangling with the chiseled Daniel.
“(Daniel) is pretty legit and I thought Omar wrestled tough,” Lathrop coach Dimos Birakos said. “Omar almost hydrated down to 152. (Daniel) was just bigger, faster and stronger, but Guzman’s conditioning was better.”
Trevor Smith, Ripon’s outstanding 182-pounder, continued the surge with a 52-second pin, and Carlos Gutierrez (195) outpointed Wilmer Alvarez 7-2 to set the table for Yciano.
“We’re obviously out of shape at this point and we still have a lot of work to do, but I was happy,” said Ripon coach Glen White. “It’s nice to send some kids out there who know what they are doing. I haven’t had that in a couple of years. As long as everybody stays healthy and stays eligible we might be all right.”
In the Central Valley match, Garcia set the tone in the opening bout with a 17-3 major decision. Aquino and Asican each won by technical fall, while Oscar Tapia (160, 3:30) Oregel (3:00), Pena (1:55), Guzman Alvarez (1:21) and Munoz (4:30) pinned their opponents. Guzman, meanwhile, edged Robbie Brown, 8-6.
“I thought we were better than last week (in a season-opening win over Escalon),” Birakos said. “Tonight, I thought we executed. We gave ourselves a chance to win against a great and well-coached team.”
East Union 72, Edison 12
Sarah Phillips (113) and Richard Whitescarver (195) highlighted the Lancers’ landslide win with the two fastest pins of the match. Phillips ended hers in 37 seconds, while Whitescarver was done in 18.
The rest of the matches were decided either by fall or forfeiture.
Picking up six points apiece for East Union were: Bobby Guillory (120, forfeit), Eddie Daube (126, 3:07), Peter Barrington (132, 3:57), Tevyn Braiden (145, 0:53), Jose Maltez (152, 1:32), Steven Jessup (160, forfeit), Nick McGill (170, 4:39), William Catineau (182, forfeit), Josh Kolkmann (220, 3:11) and Myles Virreal (106, forfeit).