In recent years Pitman High has developed a habit of close competition with Buhach Colony High so when the Thunder hosted the Pride on Wednesday head coach Adam Vasconcellos knew exactly what to expect.
As was the case last season during league and earlier this year at the Hilmar Irwin-Stevenson Lions Invitational, Wednesday’s dual between the Central California Conference foes went down to the wire. With victory in the balance, an anxious Pitman sent its most trusted wrestler, junior Logan Wolfley, onto the mat, watched him pin his opponent, and then left Atwater in celebration with a 34-33 victory.
“Every year it’s come down to the last match,” Vasconcellos said. “Our kids have been working their butts off so for them to win a close dual, it was exciting for the team. It gives us something to look forward to when we get into the room.”
Pitman’s excitement took time to develop because in the early stages of the dual things looked bleak. With injuries at 106 and 195 pounds the Pride automatically gave the Thunder 12 forfeiture points before anyone stepped onto the mat. To compound the problem, the dual began with the heavier weight classes; a disadvantage for a Pitman team who's strength is in its lighter weights.
In no time at all Buhach led 30-3.
Rather than succumb to discouragement, Pitman’s wrestlers decided to turn the tide. A close 3-1 win from sophomore Hayden Mattox and a major decision from freshman Lorenzo Lewis did just that, giving their teammates encouragement and closing the gap on the scoreboard.
“That’s when we started to piece the wins together,” Vasconcellos said.
A technical fall from Kyle Ohsbar, a major decision from Gilbert Valadez, a pin from Kuda Gwasira, and an overtime victory from Nick Roditis helped the Pride pull within five points with one match to go. That’s when Wolfley stood up to the pressure and nabbed a six point pin and ensured his team a one point victory.
“It was the perfect guy for the match to fall,” Vasconcellos said of Wolfley.
Pitman is currently competing in the American River Classic— one of five tournaments that will prepare the Pride for CCC competition.
“We’re trying to get more matches and more experience under our belts,” Vasconcellos said. “It’ll be nice to get some wins before we get into the grind of January.”