Pitman High marked the 10th anniversary of its Rumble in the Jungle tournament with a second place team finish on Saturday as seven of its wrestlers competed in the finals of their respective weight classes — with a total of 12 finishing top six or better.
The Pride missed out on the team championship by a mere 10.5 points, finishing with 236.5 team points to tournament winner Oakdale High’s 247 team points.
“The tournament was a lot tougher this year,” Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos said. “Oakdale is one of the best programs in the state, so it would have been nice to finish ahead of them.”
Of the 12 placers, Pitman walked away from its home tournament with two champions—Gilbert Valadez (138) and Justin Scroggins (HWY).
Valadez earned his way into the championship round with a pair of pins over Buchanon High’s Ernesto Florez and Caruthers High’s Eric Ramirez and a 4-3 decision over Oakdale’s Justin Jacobson in the semifinals. Valadez earned his gold over Manuel Cruz of Patterson High with a 6-2 decision.
Scroggins earned his gold with a trio of pins, taking out Joseph Coronado of Pacheco High and David Robles of Buchanon before finishing the day with a defeat of Excel Academy’s Dakota Steinkamp.
Pitman also fielded five second place finishes by Haydon Mattox (120), Lorenzo Lewis (126), Nick Valadez (132), Logan Wolfley (160), and Eric Bajeron (220). Three of the second place finishers—Mattox, Lewis, and Wolfley—fell to Mustang grapplers in the final round with Lewis and Wolfley missing out on gold by one and two points, respectively.
The losses hugely impacted the final team results.
“Coming down to it, we had some close matchups (with Oakdale),” Vasconcellos said. “Those two matched flip-flop and we win the team title. It comes down to small things.”
Other notable performances include a pair of third place finishes by Trevor Mattox (106) and Cristian Clementi (145), a 4th place finish by Quentin Hernandez (152), a 5th place finish by Chris Favila (138), and a 6th place finish by Colby Lankford (145). In total, 12 of Pitman’s 17 varsity wrestlers placed in the tournament.
“We’re really trying to get them all to wrestle well on the same weekend, and we’re hoping it’s at the league tournament, divisionals, and tournaments like that,” Vasconcellos said. “The dual meets are nice and all, but our ultimate goal is to get our kids as far along in the post-season tournaments as possible.”