Pitman High wrestling is back on top.
The Pride of Pitman made the regular season dual sweep a reality, and also clinched the program's first ever 6-0 year, after topping their crosstown and Central California Conference foe Turlock High on Wednesday with a 42-22 final.
“It’s hard to do because you never know since one guy can make the difference,” said Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos. “You have to be good the entire season because Golden Valley, Buhach and Turlock are always good every year. And even when Turlock has a down year, they are tough on us.”
Turlock was not having a down year, coming into the match with a 4-1 CCC record.
The Bulldogs contended against Pitman with all they could, but the Pride came out on top. Turlock now sits in a three way tie with Buhach Colony and Golden Valley.
“There is a three-way tie for second place at 4-2, so there will be a coin flip to see who goes on,” said Turlock head coach Mike Contreras. “Apparently we are Division II, so top two teams move on; it’s going to be a coin toss. I have never been in that situation.”
Pitman was coming into the final league dual of the year perfect at 5-0, having won four tournaments for the season as well, and didn't wish to slow down.
The team didn't.
From the first forfeit victory by Pitman's Adam Velasquez (138), to the final pin by Kendal LaRosa (132), an entire team effort made the win possible.
Pitman won nine matches for the night, while Turlock notched just five victories.
“Our kids battled,” said Contreras. “We really didn't give up any bonus points until these last two matches. I am proud of our kids; they battled and never gave up and that is all you can ask for. You put your best lineup out there and we did a good job, we just didn't come out on top this year.”
Only Alex Oliveira (145), Dom Silva (184), Breck Jeffus (220), William Giron (106) and William Ashman (120) captured wins for the 'Dogs.
Pitman was able to control most of the night and finished a few in exciting fashion.
Tondrick Pope (154) and Brendan Tallent (195) both made a statement and essentially clinched wins for the Pride.
After Pope topped Alex Ceja of Turlock, who was a favorite heading into the match, the Pride went up 9-3 after a 10-9 final.
This led to back-to-back victories before Silva notched a win for Turlock.
Finally, up 20-6, Pitman's Tallent took Adelo Fields into triple overtime, eventually escaping as the clock expired to win an exciting 2-1 match.
“As coaches we do so much preparation for every match. We know a lot of the kids since we have watched them but they won the coin flip and were able to avoid some of our tougher wrestlers,” said Vasconcellos of Isaiah Perez (170) and Velasquez winning via forfeit. “That is good coaching.”
Turlock never recovered, going down after seven matches, 23-6.
Pitman won four of the last seven matches as Turlock captured just three, including two via pin from Jeffus and Ashman.
“You kind of just take it one step, one dual, one tournament at a time and go into the next week but I am excited for the boys,” said Vasconcellos of the win. “Next we move to Division II in duals, so we have a chance to become champions this weekend in Sections.”
“Long as our boys can stay healthy, I know we are a bit banged up right now, but hopefully we can rest and CCC tournament is next week so we will see how we do at the big gym,” Contreras added.
This weekend, Pitman and Turlock (pending coin flip) will be competing for a Section Team Duals Championship from Lincoln of Stockton beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.