LATHROP — It came down to the final two matches of the night in the Valley Oak League wrestling tilt between East Union and Lathrop, and the host Spartans got two pins and a 45-33 victory Thursday.
With the score tied 33-33, Lathrop’s Mysson Harrell and Jared Graves squared off at 113 pounds. Graves battled back from a 4-0 first-period deficit to take the lead 7-5 to start the second round. Harrell made it 7-6 going into the third period where he pinned graves in 4 minutes, 57 seconds.
This set the stage for the finale. East Union’s Jason Betlej (120) caught Cris Garcia early but Garcia turned the tables and got a pin in just 55 seconds to secure the win for the Spartans (2-1 VOL).
“He head-and-armed me and that was really embarrassing,” Garcia said. “That was the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me all year.
“He did a good job in catching me but then I scrambled and grabbed his head and pinned his head and pinned him.”
Alex Garcia (126) started off senior night on the right foot for Lathrop and did not disappoint the partisan home crowd as he ran up a 15-1 lead over East Union’s Damon Cabanos before pinning Cabanos in 4 minutes, 58 seconds.
“It felt good, especially since this is my last home match,” Alex Garcia said. “It really pumped me up before the match so I felt good going out there and I felt good coming off.”
Deavin Young (170) of the Spartans (1-2) had the second-quickest pin of the night, taking John Aguilar to the mat in just 1 minute, 5 seconds. Lathrop’s Daniel Pinedo (142) took a 4-0 lead over Carlos Romero into the second period before pinning Romero in 3:02. The Spartans’ Manny Valim (160) had a little tougher time getting his pin, falling behind Joeseph Pallib 3-2 to start the second period before getting Pallib counted out with nine seconds left in the period.
“It was a real tough match,” Lathrop coach Vince Garcia said. “We lost a couple of wrestlers to grades and we knew it was going to be tough, but some freshmen and sophomores stepped up and got us some big wins.”
The Lancers’ Ruben Gallegos (145) got a first-round pin over Donald Garland. Gallegos fell behind 2-0 early before escaping and then getting the pin with 1.4 seconds remaining in the first period. East Union’s Ryan Bussberg (106) pinned Kimberly Vega with 20 seconds left in the first period and the Lancers’ Mikey Villanueva (285) fought off an early challenge from Brian Folger and pinned Folger with 10 seconds left in the first period.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Villanueva said. “But I got over it once I stepped on the match.
“I just did what my coach worked me on all week at practice and I was able to get the pin.”
Keonnee Linnell (132) of the Spartans won a 9-6 decision over Enrique Mendoza and the Lancers’ Ruben Bocanegra (195) won a 4-1 decision over Isaac Blasé.
“Those hurt,” East Union coach A.J. Reindel said of the narrow losses the Lancers suffered. “My 138-pounder had a slight injury and we played it safe and didn’t wrestle him. That forfeit hurt and we lost a couple of close matches that we could have – not necessarily should have – won.
“We didn’t put the pin away when we had the opportunity and we didn’t fight off our back hard enough when we needed to.”
East Union 54, Lathrop 15
In his first-ever wrestling match, Jorge Toscano (195) had a pin for East Union. Nick Trueba (113), A.J. Lopez (145) and Nicolas Simms (160) also had pins for the Lancers while Stephanie Rusillo (152) and Octavio Ruelas (170) had pins for Lathrop.