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WRESTLING: Buffs pin down 1st section berth in 20 years
Manteca upper weights string together clutch wins vs. EU
bulletiin wrestling 2018-19
Manteca's Dominik Neuharth tackles East Union's Jorge Padilla before pinning Padilla at 222 pounds. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

With a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Championships hanging in the balance, Manteca punched its ticket to the dance for the first time in 20 years by winning five of the last six matches Wednesday night in a 45-33 Valley Oak League win over visiting East Union at Winter Gym.
The cross-town rivals vied for second place in the VOL and a spot in the postseason tournament.
 “We had some big wins from the upper-weight classes,” Buffaloes coach Vince Garcia said. “It just came down to wrestling. We lined them up as best we could and matched up the best we could. East Union is tough and we just outwrestled them a little bit.
“It’s been 20 years since we wrestled in Sections but we are excited. It’s going to be a long day but our guys are going to wrestle their hearts out and we will see what happens.”
Manteca trailed 33-24 going into the 184-pound match when the Buffaloes’ Joseph Farrell eked out a 10-8 overtime victory over Alex Alexander, starting a string of four straight wins with Joshua Craighead (197), Dominik Neuharth (222) and Armon Bayford (287) all getting pins to close out the night for Manteca.
“It came down to the wire,” Lancers coach A.J. Reindel said. “We had a few guys out of the lineup, but the better team won tonight.
“We can’t blame one single person, but a couple of the matches that could have gone either way didn’t go our way.”
Joe Luna (152) was a bright spot for East Union, pinning Landon Comm.
“The coaches said we needed the pins because we needed the team points,” Luna said. “I just locked up a cradle and that’s how I pinned him.”
The Buffaloes’ Dominic Day (134) gave Manteca a lead at 18-12 with a pin over Joseph Patton.
“It always feels great to get a pin,” Day said. “But it’s a little bit more special on senior night which was last match at Manteca High for me.
“Wrestling on Saturday is both good and bad. Good because this is the first time in 20 years we get to go to sections and because I still have to cut weight.”
The Buffaloes started the night collecting two forfeits for a 12-0 lead. East Union tied the match at 12-12 with pins by Michael Vargas (122) and Tyler Diaz (128) with Vargas notching his pin in 39 seconds. Anthony Salcido (140) picked up 7-3 decision and Connor Galloway (172) got a pin for East Union for a 33-24 lead in the last Lancers’ win of the night.
Edwin Padilla (162) got the other Manteca win with a pin.
The Buffaloes wrestle in the SJS Team Championships on Saturday morning at Lincoln High in Stockton.