Sierra is going to the show.
For the first time in school history, the Timberwolves wrestling team will be competing in the Sac-Joaquin Section team championships after they clinched second place in the Valley Oak League with victories Wednesday night over visiting Lathrop and Weston Ranch.
“This is the best record Sierra has ever had,” Timberwolves coach Alex Nuanez said of his team’s 6-1 mark. “We have worked hard all year long and battled the flu this week.
“I told them that champions want to step up to the plate and that is what we did tonight.”
After beating the Cougars 44-22, Sierra found itself against an upstart Spartans team.
Lathrop (1-5) took an early 12-6 lead after back-to-back pins by Chris Garcia (120 pounds) and Alex Garcia (126) and was as close as 21-18 after a third-round pin by Manny Valim (152) before Manuel Romero (160), Lucas Widmer (170), Julian Semenza (195) and Conner Melton (220) won four of the next five matches by pin on the way to a 51-24 victory for the Timberwolves.
Branden Rullan (106) capped the night’s scoring for with a first-round pin of Lathrop’s Kimberly Vega.
Billy Fishburn (132) brought Sierra within 12-11 on an 18-0 technical fall over Enrique Betancourt.
“No one in Sierra history has ever made Section duals,” Fishburn said. “So this is awesome.”
Ian Chavez (182) had a win for Lathrop in a thrilling 3-1 overtime match against Hunter Wheeler.
“I was playing my defense trying to stay in my stance the whole time,” Chavez said. “He took a shot and I was able to get the headlock and counter him for a takedown.”
Spartans coach Vince Garcia was pleased with his team’s effort against Sierra after a disappointing 53-18 loss to Weston Ranch (3-4).
“We lost both matches,” Garcia said. “I am very disappointed with the way the guys wrestled in the first match. They just didn’t show up and I know we are better than that.
“They had a good talking to after that match and then they wrestled a good Sierra team and we came out, showed up and wrestled tough.”
Although the Timberwolves only won two more matches than Weston Ranch (3-4), the Cougars gave up four forfeits and managed just two pins.
“We are young,” Weston Ranch coach Pat King said. “And we are still making silly mistakes at this time of the year.
“There was no reason for that score to be 44-22. It should have been an entirely different match.”
Brendon Curtright (132) picked up wins for Weston Ranch in both matches.
“I had hoped to do well for seeding at the league meet,” Curtright said. “Now I should be seeded second.”