Three days after five of its wrestlers placed in the top-six at Midcals, Pitman High was back on the mat for a Tuesday night dual with Central California Conference foe Buhach Colony High. The Thunder entered the dual with only one league loss, a one-point defeat at the hands of Golden Valley High, and an aim to blemish Pitman's perfect CCC record.
The Thunder nearly pulled the win off, too, as they approached the final two matches of the night with a one-point lead. But Pitman stood unfazed as the outcome of the dual fell to two of its top wrestlers, Nick Valadez (138) and Lorenzo Lewis (145), who came up big with a pair of wins to cement their team's 33-24 win.
“We had two of our best kids at the end, which is always nice,” Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos said. “A couple years ago when we beat Golden Valley in the last match of our dual meet, it was Lorenzo Lewis in our last match and he won a decision. He was in a similar position this time.”
The penultimate CCC dual of the season began much like it ended — competitively close. The Pride and Thunder split the first six matches with Cristian Clementi (170) and Quentin Hernandez (182) both winning their matches by one point. But while the matches were split 3-3, it was Buhach who led midway through the dual, 10-13, due to a quick, first-period pin at 195 pounds.
“We didn't wrestle as well as we could have tonight,” Vasconcellos said in spite of his team's victory.
Pitman managed to bounce back with key wins at several weight classes, however, many of which were filled by wrestlers who were actually much lighter than their competition. Hernandez, for example, won his match at 182 pounds after placing fifth at 154 pounds at MidCals.
“In order to win dual meets we have to bump several guys up in weight classes,” Vasconcellos said “They're in shape so they can do it.”
After earning a win via pin with Trevor Mattox (106) and a major decision win with Ishwar Singh(120), the Pride lost a decision at 132 pounds that, along with a forfeit at 113 pounds, landed them at the crossroads, one point down with two matches to go. That's when Valadez pinned his opponent and set up Lewis for his dual winning match.
Pitman is now 4-0 in CCC duals with only Turlock High remaining on the schedule. Still, even though the season is not over the race for the CCC championship seems to be as Pitman can clinch the league title even with a loss next week.
“I think we do have it sealed,” Vasconcellos said.
The Pride and Bulldogs will face off in the last league dual of the season Feb. 4 at Turlock High with a start time of 7:30 p.m.