Pitman High’s wrestling team made its way to Lincoln High on Saturday for the program’s first appearance at the Sac Joaquin Section Team Duals.
The Pride—who dominated Central California Conference competition with a 5-0 record in team duals—were matched with Del Oro High in the first round of the Division I bracket where the Golden Eagles earned a 45-14 victory.
“Del Oro has won a ton of section titles; they’re a very well coached team,” Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos said. “They were a good team, but some things didn’t go our way.”
Pitman entered the dual down three wrestlers as Nick Valadez, Nick Roditis, and Kuda Gwasira were forced to sit out with flu-like symptoms. All three of their replacements were beaten in their respective weight classes.
The Pride also suffered from late match let downs as several wrestlers were caught for pins despite leading on the scoreboard. Eric Bejeran (220) was one such wrestler who, while leading 5-0, was rolled over and pinned in an instant for a 12-point swing on the team total.
“We wanted to win, so the kids were very disappointed,” Vasconcellos said. “But even if we were at full strength, it would have been a tough hill to climb.”
Four Pitman wrestlers managed to win their individual matches, however. Trevor Mattox (106), Gilbert Valadez (138), Quentin Hernandez (152), and Logan Wolfley (160) each won, with Mattox recording the Pride’s sole pin of the day.
Now, Pitman is focused squarely on the upcoming CCC Tournament which will be held at Golden Valley High on Friday. If Pitman can finish in first place at the tournament it will earn an outright CCC championship and earn its first league banner in school history. If the Cougars finish ahead of the Pride, however, the two teams will be forced to share the title.
Despite the implications surrounding the tournament, Vasconcellos and his staff are not obsessing over an outright championship. Instead, they will allow their wrestlers to compete in the weight classes that give them the best shot at advancing into the post-season.
“The kids have done their job for the team to get us in this position. But when it comes to the individual tournament, the kids are going to wrestle where they want to wrestle,” Vasconcellos said. “If every kid wrestles their best the team finish will take care of itself.”