Turlock High (4-0 CCC) and Golden Valley (3-1 CCC) entered their Wednesday night dual with undefeated league records. With the end of conference competition just a week away the matchup was, as one assistant coach put it, “for all the marbles.” In their closest league dual of the season the Bulldogs managed to edge out the Cougars 27-18, maintaining an undefeated league record and extending their consecutive dual win streak to 23.
For the first time in a long time the Bulldogs did not dominate their opponents on the mat. The dual included no bonus points, except for a Cougar forfeiture, meaning that every match was decided by regular decisions. Golden Valley held a 6-3 lead over Turlock early in the night but the Bulldogs quickly retook and held on to the lead. Golden Valley kept it close though, forcing Turlock’s wrestlers to earn every match and team point.
“Every match was a nail biter,” Turlock’s head coach Mike Contreras said. “They were all closely contested matches.”
The final few matches were perhaps the tensest, as both teams had a shot at the lead. Turlock’s Ricco McCombs helped swing the momentum the Bulldogs’ way with a one point, comeback victory in the third period.
“All the wins were big, obviously, in a close dual meet like that,” Contreras said.
The Bulldogs now have one more CCC competitor to face, rival Pitman High. If Turlock can come out on top on Wednesday it will earn its seventh CCC championship in a decade.
“We’re in a good position but we haven’t won anything yet,” Contreras said. “We can’t celebrate, we need to work hard and make a statement against Pitman and make sure we leave no doubts that we are champions.”
When Pitman hosts Turlock on the first they won’t be competing for a league title, instead they will be competing for pride. Pitman’s dual against Buhach Colony High on Tuesday did not go as the Pride (2-2 CCC) had hoped. The Thunder beat Pitman in a close 37-30 dual.
A big factor in Tuesday’s loss was the absence of four varsity wrestlers from the dual. Pitman was forced to move up JV wrestlers to fill the void, giving them great experience but at the same time creating mismatches with Buhach.
“We’ve got a young team,” Pitman’s head coach Chris Wolfley said. “But we still had some great performances.”
Nick Renteria, Braulio Cordero, and Hayden Mattox were among those who turned out good performances, pinning their opponents. Kyle Martinez, who recently placed first at Mid Cals and earned upper weight outstanding wrestler honors, and Logan Wolfley also had big wins with Wolfley defeating a heavier, section ranked Thunder opponent.
The Pride now looks forward to the Turlock dual where they plan on competing as if the CCC title was on the line.
“We just want to wrestle tough against a really good team,” Wolfley said. “We need to gain momentum and carry it into the break so we can get as many kids as we can into divisionals.”
Rumble in the Jungle
Before the two Turlock schools face each other in the final CCC dual of the season they will get a chance to compete against each other today in Pitman’s eighth annual Rumble in the Jungle.
Hundreds of wrestlers from 30 schools, including Turlock, Pitman, and Denair High, will compete in the tournament which boasts both JV and varsity brackets. The tournament will span seven mats and is estimated to last for more than 10 hours.
Last year’s tournament crown went to the hosting Pride, a feat head coach Wolfley is hoping to repeat. Turlock is also looking to take this year’s crown but will not be at full strength. Due to the 40 match high school limit the Bulldogs will be forced to sit four of its best wrestlers. Still, with a 32-man varsity bracket and talented wrestlers on all sides, today is sure to be a must-see for any wrestling fan.
The Rumble will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and the medal rounds are expected to start around 6 p.m.
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.