It came down to the final match Wednesday night in the Valley Oak League wrestling finale between East Union and visiting Manteca.
Tyler Diaz pinned Sean Melan to give East Union a 40-35 win and a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Championships, which takes place Saturday, Feb. 1, at Lincoln High School in Stockton.
“It came down to the last match, but a lot of other matches made the difference,” Lancers coach A.J. Reindel said. “Some of the matches we lost we kept from being pinned and that kept points off the board for them.
“Everyone did their job — we didn’t give up six points when it would have hurt and we got six points when we needed to.”
Diaz (145 pounds) took a 2-0 lead after the first period before getting the pin at 3 minutes, 24 seconds.
“I just felt confident,” Diaz said. “I took the mat looking for the win like I always do and wanted to wrestle how I wrestle.
“I didn’t feel any extra pressure. It was just another match.”
Manteca led 35-18 before East Union scored the final 22 points.
“We knew Tyler (Diaz) was a tough wrestler,” Buffaloes coach Vince Garcia said. “So we were trying to eke out some wins before that. They were just the better team tonight.
“We knew it was going to be close but we just fell short.”
Miles Lacanglacang (152 pounds) and Ciaran Kemptner (160) started the night off for the Lancers with back-to-back pins — Lacanglacang in 3:35 and Kemptner in 1:25.
“I lost against Manteca last year,” Kemptner said. “But I got a chance at redemption this year.”
Other wins for East Union included a 40-second pin by Alex Yang (182), a pin in 1:40 by Michael Vargas (126), a pin by Anthony Salcido in 4:37 and a major decision by Nick Luna (132).
One of the more exciting matches of the night was at 170 when Manteca’s Joseph Farrell got a takedown on Connor Galloway late in the third period to force overtime and then Farrell got a pin in overtime.
“During the match I was super tired for no reason,” Farrell said. “And I saw he was standing up in overtime so I just went for it.
“Sometimes you just have to dig deep.”
The Buffaloes’ Yadhira Rodriguez (106) dominated her match and came away with a technical fall late in the third period.
“I really need to thank my coaches for pushing me hard,” Rodriguez said. “I am proud of myself for what I did.”
Manteca’s Joshua Saylor (220) got a pin in one minute, and teammate Dominik Neuharth tallied a pin in 3:27. Fabian Mendoza (113) and Diego Rodriguez (120) added wins by decision for the Buffaloes.