In the recent past, the Central California Conference has been led by Turlock and Golden Valley High wrestling with Pitman High not too far behind. The Pride entered this season determined to re-shuffle those standings and on Wednesday, when the Cougars visited Pitman’s gymnasium, they got their chance to topple last season’s second place team.
Unfortunately, Pitman was forced to compete at less than full strength. A combination of illness, injury, and personal circumstance left the Pride without four of their starters, making Wednesday’s challenge even more difficult. Still, Pitman fought in the face of adversity and put in a valiant effort, losing by a mere 10 points, 35-25.
“A loss is a loss, we’re never happy with losing, but we lost two or three matches by less than two points,” Pitman’s head coach Adam Vasconcellos said. “We limped in. Losing four starters against a good team like Golden Valley and only losing by 10, that’s not bad.”
“Overall, the team wrestled really well,” Vasconcellos added.
Among those who put in impressive performances were Nick Roditis (220) who won his match via pin and Kuda Gwasira (150) who defeated his opponent with a last second reversal for a 2-1 victory. Nick Valadez (138) also impressed on the mat, scoring a personal victory by defeating Ethan Morse, the Cougar who has beaten him in their last four meetings.
“Nick battled and put him on his back. He almost got the fall,” Vasconcellos said. “It was a big match for him; he’s been on fire.”
But a forfeiture and some pins that could have been prevented put the dual out of Pitman’s reach.
“The thing about Golden Valley is that they’re a really good dual team,” Vasconcellos said. “If they know they’re an underdog in a match they wrestle smart and don’t give up points. That, and a couple guys giving up pins that shouldn’t have been, was really the difference.”
Pitman competes in today’s Jim Root Classic in San Jose before continuing its CCC schedule with a dual at Atwater High on Wednesday.
“Our kids have a lot of confidence,” Vasconcellos said. “They’re rolling right now and starting to peak.”