In what is considered the wrestling season’s first real test, the Pitman High wrestlers did better than expected.
That’s because the Pride didn’t have many options to begin with. They only had nine wrestlers available — others were injured — and eight of them finished in the top three of their respective weight classes at Saturday’s Western Invitational at Modesto Junior College. It was a performance that gave Pitman coach Adam Vasconcellos a good idea of where his program will stand by March, when the CIF State Championships take place.
The Pride had two tournament winners in senior Andrew Perez at 140 pounds and Emilio Saavedra at 112. Lance Reyes (119) and Derrick Avila (130) and Matt Teeples (215) took second in their weight classes, while Tyler Klinkhammer (135), John England (152) and Mario Aguirre (171) each took home a third-place medal. Not bad for a team with limited wrestlers, as the Pride were short of the team title and lost 218 1/2-216 to James Logan High.
For Saavedra, he finished with five pins.
The tournament was also a nice change of scenery, considering Pitman had won all five of its dual meets before Saturday. The Pride wanted to see how they’d do in a more individualized setting.
“We only brought nine kids, and eight kids placed,” Vasconcellos said, “so we wrestled extremely well.”
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