League dual meets are officially underway in the Trans-Valley League following Hilmar High’s 49-21 victory over Hughson High on Wednesday night from Sparks Gym.
“I felt coming into this match that it should be a win for us, even though I have a lot of respect for Hughson…this year we had a confident beginning,” said Hilmar head coach Justin Nash. “It was a 50-50 battle beginning to the end. No matter what the numbers looked like, I thought it would go toe to toe at every match.”
“They are a strong team, but we are a young team, we have four seniors, but most of our kids are freshmen, so we are pretty young. I thought it would be a lot closer, but they did a good job with their lineup,” said Hughson head coach Tony Bargas, who enters his fifth year as the HC.
This is also the first year in Bargas’ seven years with the program that they have fielded a full varsity roster.
“It is worth noting,” said Bargas. “We just have a lot of young kids from our youth program that came up… I am looking for big things at the end of the season.”
Some of those kids that Bargas expects to peak at the end of the season showed their ability on Wednesday night against Hilmar.
“I am very pleased, the commitment these kids have had through the Christmas season and beginning of the year up till today,” said Nash. “Their dedication to 6 a.m. practices, every single one of them showed up and then a later practice in the afternoon and they surprised me from every corner. The crowd really rose to the occasion, and for a rookie coach, I don’t know what to expect in some of these intersections, but I have been pleasantly surprised to say the very least.”
Hilmar kicked off the night with back to back wins via fall after Emmett Carter (103) toppled Brecken Reisz (Hughson) followed by a Noble Santos (113) win over Cooper Thornsberg (Hughson).
Hilmar found themselves up 12-0 after two quick wins and in the third match things settled in for a bit after Hughson’s Kaden Thornsberg (120) toppled Hilmar’s Ezra Duenas in a wild 6-5 decision that went all three periods. This made it 12-3.
Following a Luis Vargas (126) win via forfeit for Hilmar, their lead increased to 18-3.
The fifth match saw one of the most intense action after Hughson’s Gabe Bargas (132) defeated Broc Perry of Hilmar in a 7-2 decision that made it 18-6.
Stephan Amaral (138) of Hilmar toppled Justin Hensley of Hughson in a crazy finish that ended in a reversal that put Amaral up 7-5 in the final 12 seconds to win it and give the ‘Jackets a 21-6 lead.
Haidyn Herrin (145) of Hughson defeated Hilmar’s Johnathen Mendoza via fall in the first period as one second expired. Following the win, the score read 21-13.
Hilmar extended their lead for good following three consecutive wins via fall in the first period.
First it was Will Sousa (152), followed by Steven Silva (160) and Luis Flores (170) and the score read 39-13.
Hilmar’s David Silva (182) extended the lead to 42-13 following a strong 11-1 decision win over Hughson’s Aidan Pearson.
Mark LaBass (195) won his match via fall in the first period over Garrett Hicks of Hughson in a strong showing.
In the penultimate match of the night, Carson Hatch (220) of Hughson toppled Efrain Duenas of Hilmar in what turned out to be one of the wildest matches of the night that was just a one-point contest heading into the third period. Hicks won his match 5-0, and Hughson notched a forfeit win at heavyweight to end the night, 49-21.
“Later on is more individual based, but right now I am mainly focused on the team, getting into the section duals,” Bargas said. “We finished top 10 at Aptos, top four at MJC and everyone has been top 10 for the most part. We just don’t have a mature enough team to get to the top just yet, but in the long run, I think later in the year we will do a lot better once our weight gets to where we need to be. Right now, we are having to wrestle a bit heavy, the guys are not there yet, but I think later on in the season, hopefully, we get to see them at the Section duals and have a rematch.”