The Pitman Pride wrestling team is the 2019-2020 Division-II Sac-Joaquin Section Team Duals Champion following Saturday’s 35-23 final from Lincoln High in Stockton, which secured their third blue banner in school history and the second over the last three seasons.
“I am excited for the kids. When we first started this didn’t seem too possible, but the seniors a few years back have led us,” said Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos.
Pitman has been either section champs or runners-up since 2017.
“We have been first or second in section every year since then,” said Vasconcellos.
This title is the second in three years for Pitman after they won it in 2018 and lost in the final last year to Oakdale.
This season, one of the goals that Vasconcellos and the Pride had was to win the blue banner — and they achieved that.
The Pride kicked off the D-II bracket as the No. 1 seed, and with a first round, 82-0, shutout victory over Stagg High.
Pitman followed up with a semifinal victory over Oakmont that saw them win it, 49-23, and advance into the finale against Bella Vista.
No. 2 Bella Vista fought as tough as they could, but it was Pitman that made sure they took control early on.
In the final, things kicked off at 120-pounds where Pitman’s Izzy Tubera, who is ranked No. 3 in the state, clinched a 2-1 decision victory.
Sammy Silveira (140) of Pitman managed to capture a tech fall win, while at 152 pounds it was the Pride’s Jon Stout who notched a major decision win.
Pitman’s Isaiah Ontiveros (160) won his match after a major decision win while senior Kendall La Rosa (170) picked up a major decision win that saw him clinch it, 20-8.
Teammate Khalid Ghani (195) notched a 6-3 win for the Pitman Pride.
Then, heading into the 220-pound match, Juan Mora of Pitman, who is No. 5 in the state, secured a pin for the Pride and heavyweight Emilio Gutierrez (No. 10 in state) also notched his pin as the Pride went up by 20 points, and put up their 35 points with two matches remaining.
The Pride won eight total matches for the day.
“Because we clinched it early, that is when the kids got really excited, and it got to the point where our kids expect to win, so more of an individual thing when the bell rang,” said Vasconcellos. “I thought we could handle things on paper and I saw how we matched up, but Bella Vista would have to wrestle out of this world, and they made it tough, but we are so deep and our JV hasn't lost in seven years and that is just refueling our varsity lineup.”
Heading into the Central California Athletic League tournament, Pitman is ranked No. 9 in the state by Cal Grappler and No. 10 by California Wrestler.
“It is exciting when you have a tough and deep team that can put it together,” said Vasconcellos.
The CCAL Championships will take place from Turlock High at 9 a.m. Friday.