ESCALON — Sixteen wrestlers from East Union and Manteca high schools brought home hardware Saturday from the Lloyd C. Engel Wrestling Tournament at Escalon High School.
After qualifying matches Friday, the wrestlers were grouped into four brackets for the placement part of the tournament.
“I like this tournament,” East Union coach A.J. Reindel said. “Just about everybody wrestles for something. I like the format of it. You come in here and if you lose, you wrestle kids of your ability.
“There is competition here of all levels. I enjoy it. We wrestled well but we have some stuff to work on.”
Only wrestlers who were undefeated Friday made it to the prestigious A bracket and just one local competitor – East Union’s Jaysen Reindel (220 pounds) – did not lose on Friday. He finished fourth.
Buffaloes coach Mark Varnum was pleased with the exposure afforded to his younger wrestlers.
“We had a lot of young guys here today,” Varnum said. “A lot of our older guys are out of town this weekend or hurt. It’s good to get these younger guys some action and some experience.
“There were some big-time programs here so it is good to get exposed to that level of competition. Hopefully this makes us better for league.”
Ryan Bussberg (113) and Enrique Mendoza (132) of the Lancers were second in the B bracket and Manteca’s Nick Creighton (182) was fourth.
“To achieve this I had to work hard,” Bussberg said. “And there is a little luck in there, too.
“I was looking to get into the A bracket, but it didn’t happen.”
In the C bracket, East Union’s Jason Betlej (126) defeated teammate Trinidad Diaz for the gold medal.
“I was kind of weird,” Betlej said of wrestling a teammate. “We are partners at practice.”
The Lancers’ Joseph Reynaga (182) and Buffaloes’ Runvir Chowan (195) were second in the C bracket. Manteca’s Jobdir Mahal (195) was third in the C bracket as were Nick Bettencourt (132), Anthony Contreras (138) and Alan Huerta (152) of East Union while Jared Graves (120) of the Lancers was fourth.
“I am pretty excited,” Contreras said. “I was able to pancake him in the finals and get the pin.”
East Union’s Daniel Huerta (152) won the D bracket and teammate Damen Cabanan (138) was fourth.
“It feels good,” Huerta said. “He kept jumping on me and I was able to counter him.”
Manteca’s Dominic Day (132) brought home a D-bracket gold medal.
“This feels pretty good,” Day said. “I am a freshman and I didn’t even think I would make it at a varsity meet.”
“I thought I was going to do better,” Mendoza said. “But he out-muscled me so I couldn’t do anything.
Napa Valley Girls Classic
Aysia Cortez of Venture Academy-Stockton finished fifth Saturday at 131 pounds.
There were 565 girls at the tournament and 50 in the 131-pound division.