At the start of the wrestling season, Denair High coach Don Helnore hoped to have champions at the Southern League Tournament, especially because the Coyotes were scheduled to host the postseason event. He had a couple wrestlers in mind who could possibly achieve the honor.
But on Saturday, the Coyotes finished with two tournament winners and Helnore was, to say the least, surprised.
Freshman Jordan Titus (103 pounds) and senior Antonio Soto (215 pounds) both won their respective weight classes at the Denair High gym, helping them advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championships on Friday and Saturday at Summerville High. Three other Denair wrestlers qualified, with junior Hannah Gallardo (112), Alejandro Gutierrez (145) and sophomore heavyweight Kris Waldon all finishing in second place.
Titus pinned Delhi High’s Geraldo Santana in the third round of the championship match.
“Jordan has been a very pleasant surprise this year,” Helnore said. “In the beginning of the season, the coaching staff and I had no idea what to expect. We saw a lot of raw talent in the beginning of the year and over the season he has developed.”
Soto, who got behind in his finals match against Waterford Anthony Elizarraras before issuing a pin, began wrestling for the Coyotes late in the season. On Saturday, he was named an all-league wrestler.
“Antonio came to us late in the season with a lot of raw strength that we have been able to develop quickly into a good wrestler,” Helnore noted. “We were able to show him moves to utilize his strength and to use his natural abilities. He is a quick learner and has a great attitude.”
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