Two of the top 25 wrestling programs in California squared off on Wednesday night in the final league dual meet when Turlock hosted Pitman High from the small gym.
Only one team was crowned the regular season winner of the Central California Athletic League on Wednesday after both Pitman and Turlock were 4-0 heading into the match.
Following a close start, Pitman was able to pull away in the end with a 38-21 win while JV captured their sixth straight undefeated regular season.
“Of course, we want to win and everything else and our end goal is with individuals and getting our kids to state, that is always the goal, and it will be nice this weekend, us and Turlock will be at sectionals,” said Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos. “It is exciting as well overall and we are getting there, health wise, we are getting there, just pretty close.”
“Hats off to Pitman, they were the better team in this dual meet. [We were] down a couple starters, and that did not help the Bulldogs,” said Turlock head coach Mike Contreras about losing for the first time in the Central California Athletic League.
Turlock ends the regular season dual meets at 4-1 while Pitman goes perfect at 5-0 heading into the Section team duals.
“The tournament always matters, we are guaranteed co-champs, at least,” said Vasconcellos. “Pitman is about 600 kids smaller so we will be Division-II and Turlock D-II, for the team duals.”
Pitman went down quickly in Wednesday’s dual, though, via forfeit after heavyweight and state medalist last year Mike Jeffus notched the first win.
Turlock went up 6-0 and followed up with a decision victory to lead 9-0 after the first two matches.
Pitman won via decision and forfeit in the next two and the score read 9-9.
Will Giron (126) of Turlock then picked up a decision win followed by an Adrian Heras’ (132) third round pin to go up 18-9.
From there it was all Pitman for the most part, starting with Nolan Lok (138) who was dominant from the onslaught and got the victory via pin, 18-15.
Sammy Silveira (145) then did nearly the same thing, but showed his state ability as the junior rag-dolled the opposition, leading 10-1 before he got the first-round pin with 12.5 seconds remaining and the Pride went up for good, leading 21-18 at that point.
Pitman won four of the remaining five matches, securing the win with eight wins out of 14, including big victories by Kendall La Rosa (170) and Juan Mora (220).
“Sammy Silveira, Kendall La Rosa, Izzy Tubera (120), Juan Mora, Jaron Azevedo (195), they are tough kids and they live for this, they’ve been excited for this all week,” said Vasconcellos. “The crowd was going as well…and JV won for the sixth straight year, undefeated league champs, always building. We knew it would be tough, they always wrestle us tough and we’re always expecting a war.”
Next for both is the Section Team Duals from Lincoln High School, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.