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Pitman wrestlers shine at the Rumble in the Jungle
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Achilles Clarke takes home the first-place belt in the 220-pound division in the Pride’s home tourney the Rumble in the Jungle (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

Pitman High hosted 40 teams at the annual Rumble in the Jungle wrestling tournament last weekend. The Pride had multiple competitors finishing in the top three in their respective divisions, with Achilles Clarke taking first place in his weight class.

“These kids are hard workers,” said head coach Adam Vasconcellos. “When you work hard at something you learn to love what you do. We work hard and grind in practice and everything else like this comes after that.”

Clarke won four matches in the 220-pound division to secure the first-place title. Alex Talamante was able to win three before coming up short in the final match for a second-place finish in his division. Davian Padilla put up a strong showing as well with a third-place finish in the 145-pound division. Finally, Julian Rosales took home a fourth-place finish in the 160-pound division.

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Davian Padilla finishes third in the 145-pound division at the Rumble in the Jungle (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

Lilly Avalos and Alana Ontiveros put up strong performances for girls varsity and took home first place finishes in their respective divisions. Junior varsity had a strong showing as well with Matt Fargo, David Sandoval and Nathan Malagon each winning first place in their division. Second place finishes were secured by Kai Mirafuentes, Alex Hearty and Gilbert Criado. Finally, Aaron Yniquez, Angel Villasenor, Roberto Aguillar and Arnulfo Gonzalez took home third place in their divisions.

Rosales, Talamante and Clarke finished top 40 in the state last season, and Avalos and Ontiveros finished top five with Ontiveros winning the state championship.

“We had a good group come back,” said Vasconcellos. “We only had three or four seniors but we have a really good group that were freshmen two years ago.”

Next up for the Pride is section team duels at Lincoln High School on Jan. 29. That comes a week before the CCAL Championships on Feb. 4 at Downey High.