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Sierra takes down Manteca, East Union
EUs Castaneda continues to impress
Parsa Davari works a hold during his match with Sierra. - photo by HIME ROMERO
A number of intriguing story lines came out of the Valley Oak League tri-meet between Manteca, East Union and Sierra at Sierra High Wednesday afternoon, including the continued ascension of Lancer 119-pounder Marco Castaneda, who came off his first tournament championship Saturday to take down two of the best wrestlers the VOL has to offer.

But it was Sierra High that came away with the day’s biggest headline, after downing Manteca 50-24, and besting the Lancers, 43-25.

East Union took home bragging rights in its match with Manteca, winning 48-28.

Castaneda improved his record to 24-4 on the season with a hard-fought 15-13 decision over Sierra’s Robert Howard and a second-round pin of Manteca’s Marcus Gonzales.

“Marcus was in the lead, but he got caught,” Manteca head coach John Vazquez said. “He was giving up an arm and got caught with an arm bar. He tried something, but ended up getting getting caught.”

Howard looked to have Castaneda pinned in the second round, but Castaneda fought off the fall from his back long enough to milk the clock and move on to the third round.

Against the Buffs, East Union picked up wins from Jeremiah Howard (112 pounds, 11-8 decision), Jason Cortez (125, pin), Parsa Davari (135, pin), Chuck Mayo (145, 9-3 decision), and Hector Fajardo (215, pin).

Zach Williams picked up the Buffs lone win against EU, a 10-3 decision over Albert Aguilar who was back in action after sitting out the Lincoln Tournament with an injury.

Manteca collected wins from Williams, Gonzales, Brian Pickett (152) and Charlie Albitre.

“In tri-meets, we’ve been starting off flat and wrestling better in the second dual,” Vazquez said. “We need to be ready for both duals. There is still some work to be done, but we have time to work out our mistakes before the VOL tournament (Feb. 14).”

Manteca travels to Sonora Wednesday for a tri-meet with the Wildcats and Central Valley.

Sierra improved to 3-2 on VOL play behind strong days from a number of wrestlers, including sophomore 145-pounder Aiden Foster.

Foster picked up a huge 19-9 major decision over East Union’s Matt Neves, and collected another major decision (16-6) versus Manteca.

“That match against Neves really says a lot about Aiden,” Sierra head coach Frank Sabala said. “Austin Soto (112) wrestled really tough as well. Overall, we didn’t win all the matches we thought we would, but we wrestled really hard and didn’t give up many pins.”

Soto picked up a pair of pins on the afternoon.

Against Manteca, Sierra also enjoyed wins from Alex Nuanez (171, pin) and Oscar Castro (189, 16-7 major decision).

“Against Shane McCullar, Oscar stood up and was slammed down and hit his head pretty hard,” Sabala said. “His eye swelled up, but he decided to keep going. There was no doubt in his mind, and he looked okay, so he went back out there. It just shows you how tough he is.”

In its match with EU, Sierra collected wins from Matt Bereta (152, pin), Ray Widmer (160, pin) and Anthony Colonico (HVY, 9-8 decision).

“We only gave up one pin against East Union,” Sabala said. “We’ve been giving up a few pins this year, and that costs you six points. When you’re only giving up one pin, that keeps you in matches.”

EU was not without its own highlights against the T’Wolves.

The Lancers got wins from Jason Cortez (125, tech. fall), Stevyn Teeple (130, 10-8 decision), Davari (21-5 tech. fall), and Fajardo (8-6 dec.).

East Union (2-4 VOL) travels to Lathrop Wednesday for a tri-meet with the Spartans and Ceres.

Sierra, meanwhile, will travel to Weston Ranch for a meeting with the Cougars and Oakdale.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” Sabala said. “They came through for us today. They wrestled tough.”

Weston Ranch 50,Ceres 17
Weston Ranch 51, Central Valley 18
The Cougars moved to 5-0 in VOL play and 16-2 on the year with a sweep of the Ceres schools.

Grant Mar (125) picked up a pair of pins, as did heavyweight Eddie Reed.
Travis Bowen collected two technical falls.

“We wrestled so-so,” Weston Ranch co-head coach Pat King said. “ (Mar, Bowen and Reed) wrestled really well, it’s starting to make a difference that Travis is down to 140 for the first time. It’s a slow process for him, but he’s doing really well. He should be down to 135 next week for Sierra and Oakdale.”

— Brandon Petersen