Sierra wrestling coach Alex Nuanez had a heart-to-heart chat with fourth-year senior Jonah Treltas before the Timberwolves’ pivotal Valley Oak League match with visiting Kimball on Wednesday.
“Before the match I told him it was probably going to come down to you,” Nuanez said. “We’re not going to need a win; we’re going to need a pin. Your family will be here watching you and the whole team is going to be on your back. Do you want that pressure?”
Treltas demanded it and gave his team the pin it needed. The 152-pounder built a 6-0 lead before stopping Jeremiah Salud in 3 minutes, 12 seconds.
Sierra 40, Kimball 37.
The team triumph gives Sierra (2-1) the inside track to the VOL’s No. 2 spot and a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section team tournament.
“Yes I did have some pressure on me, but I believed in myself and I believed in my team,” said Tretlas, who was mobbed by teammates shortly after getting his arm raised. “I knew that regardless of the outcome my team would be behind me and that’s what helped me push through.
“That’s what it came down to; I did it for my team, not for myself.”
Sierra needed to win just three of the 10 matches on the mat, as it was aided by forfeitures at 126, 182, 195 and heavyweight. The Jaguars got pinfall victories from their three standouts, Robert Delgado (113), Reese Chew (145) and Trent Nicholson (160) — all ranked in the top eight of their respective divisions in the section according to The California Wrestler’s.
“Even with the four forfeits we still had our opportunities to go out and win it,” Kimball coach Tyler Mullen said. “We got outwrestled. Sierra won some matches that were hard-fought. They did well tonight so they deserved the big win regardless of the forfeits. We had opportunities where we came up short.”
Billy Fishburn picked up a big four points for Sierra with a 13-0 majority decision win over Michael Stephens at 138, though his coaches felt he was cheated out of a fall in the closing seconds of the match. That gave the Timberwolves a 34-31 advantage going into the final two bouts.
Lucas Widmer, Sierra’s 170-pound standout coming off two straight tournament title runs, dominated en route to a 2:18 pinning of Nathaneal Kountz.
In tight duals such as these, simply not getting pinned can make a big difference. Branden Rullan overcame three first-period near falls and trailed Kimball’s Kainoa Caspillo 15-2 at one point in the 103-pound contest. Rullan evaded additional near falls and outworked his opponent the rest of the way, dropping an 18-7 decision.
Simon Marquez (132) also came up big for Sierra in his 9-7 defeat to David Gonzalez. He was nearly stuck a minute into the second period, and the back points stretched Gonzalez’s lead to 9-4. An escape and takedown gave Marquez momentum heading into the final period, but Gonzalez rode him out for the win.
“It was 100 percent a team win,” Nuanez said. “We knew going in that it was going to come down to two matches. If we didn’t get pinned in some of those matches it would come down to the end and that’s what happened tonight.”
Nuanez cautioned his squad against complacency following the important victory. Anything can happen with two double duals remaining involving four dangerous teams — first against Sonora and Manteca next Wednesday, Jan. 22.
“Long way to go,” Nuanez said. “I told the kids afterwards that this doesn’t put us in the spot we want to be at. We have to come back and work hard on Thursday.”
Sierra 66, Kimball 18
Adam Searle (138), Jarrett Penner (152), Manuel Romero (170) and Sean Murray (182) all won by fall as the Timberwolves rolled to a decisive win. They claimed seven additional matches via forfeiture.