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Nuanez, Soto, Colonico all medal for Sierra High
David Ruiz works for positioning during the third-place match Saturday at the Lloyd Engel Tournament in Escalon. - photo by BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin
ESCALON — Escalon High’s Lloyd Engel Tournament always features a number of wrestling powerhouses and 2009 was no different.
Besides the host Cougars, East Bakersfield High, Sacramento’s Foothill and Elk Grove and Folsom were just some of the upper echelon squads performing both Friday and Saturday.
Over the last couple of seasons, Sierra High has etched out its own impressive niche in the Sac-Joaquin Section as well, and Saturday at Escalon, the T’Wolves placed three wrestlers, Alex Nuanez (171 pounds), Austin Soto (112) and Alex Colonico (HVY).
 Nuanez, a promising sophomore and Valley Oak League champion, finished second overall after he was pinned late in the third period during the title round.
“Alex wrestled a pretty good match up until the end,” Sierra head coach Frank Sabala said. “He got caught.”
Soto, a freshman, completely dominated his opponent in the third-place match, collecting a pin in 12 seconds.
“Austin wrestled well,” Sabala said. “In his very first match of the day, he lost 4-0. He struggled to begin the day but won his next two.”
Colonico finished second overall.
“Alex is a light heavyweight,” Sabala said. “He wrestles at 220, and his opponent was in the 270 range. Alex did really well, but he got turned.”
Robert Howard wrestled at 131, and lost early on.
Howard says he plans to wrestle his next dual at 125 pounds, and will be down to his normal weight class (121) in a couple of weeks.
“The tournament was a good test for us,” Sabala said. “The kids wrestled five, six matches per day. It showed us where we’re at in our conditioning, and what we need to focus on moving forward.
“Overall, we wrestled well.”
Sierra heads to Ceres for a tri-meet with Lathrop and Central Valley Wednesday.