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Weston Ranch duals: Cougars retain crown
Travis Burciaga of Manteca prepares to pin Johansens Anthony Gerardo in a 182-pound bout on Saturday in the Cougar Duals at Weston Ranch. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

Andrew Olaya rose to the occasion on Saturday.

 With his host Weston Ranch Cougars clinging to a five-point lead over McNair with two matches left to determine the Division II championship of the Cougar Duals, Olaya entered the third round of his 126-pound match locked in a 2-2 tie. Olaya notched a takedown along with back points for a 7-2 win, assuring that the trophy would stay at Weston Ranch with the 39-36 win over the Eagles.

 “I was really nervous,” Olaya said. “But if you push yourself hard enough you can accomplish anything.”

 Cougars teammate Alex Angulo (160) went 4-1 with four pins.

“This was my first-ever varsity tournament,” the Weston Ranch junior said. “We are young and we are going to get better.”

 After getting thumped 43-18 by Buhach Colony in open pool competition, Weston Ranch bounced back with convincing wins over Johansen (54-21) and Union Mine (63-15). This landed the Cougars in Division 2 for the afternoon action where they defeated Center 49-24 and then McNair.

Cougars coach Pat King knows his team is young, but appreciates their earnest attitude.

 “The great thing about these kids is that they buy into the team,” King said. “They understand it is a team thing.

 “They get that there are no individuals. They all work hard together and nobody thinks they are better than they are. They just have to keep working.”

 Lathrop bounced back from a winless morning to defeat Johansen 47-24. Enrique Betancourt (145) got a first-round pin against the Vikings and Alex Garcia (132) rolled to a 21-3 technical fall. Manteca also went winless in pool action before downing Johansen 42-18 in Division IV with Travis Burciaga (182)getting a first-round pin, setting up  a battle with the Spartans for the Division IV trophy.

 Lathrop proved to be too much for Manteca and brought home the Division IV championship with a 44-29 win.

 “This was a good tournament with a lot of good teams,” Spartans coach Vince Garcia said. “We had a rough start in the morning but they came back at the end and wrestled really well.”

 Alex Garcia went 3-1 with a bye and a technical fall and Chris Garcia (126) was 2-1.

 “It was a good day,” Alex Garcia said. “I had a tough first match and after that I did pretty good. I have a couple of mistakes I have to work on.”

 Burciaga had a rough start as well but came back strong to finish 4-1 with three pins

 “I lost the first match,” Burciaga said. “But then I got my confidence to do what I had to do.”

 It was a tough morning of pool matches for Lathrop and Manteca with both going 0-3. The Buffaloes had a tough draw to start with Vista del Lago and lost 60-6 before losing to McNair 46-31 and getting edged 39-34 by Argonaut.

 “We were young and brought five freshmen to a varsity tournament,” Manteca coach Mark Varnum said. “We are excited to get some experience.”

 The Spartans opened with powerhouse Franklin-Elk Grove and lost 58-18. Lathrop bounced back to nearly get Downey but came up short at 39-32 and then lost to Center,  42-26.