Pitman High wrestling is family.
That is exactly what head coach Adam Vasconcellos said after his squad captured the Division-II Sac-Joaquin Section Team Dual Championship on Saturday at Lincoln High in Stockton.
“Our kids were ready to go, these kids have become so close with each other, we call each other 'the fam,'” said Vasconcellos after his team defeated Golden Valley 43-21 in an All-Central California Conference final.
Pitman won the Division-I South Section title during the 2009-10 season, but was aiming to add to that legacy. They came up short in 2015, when the Pride lost to Folsom by five points in the final.
This year, the section dropped the Modesto Metro Conference and the CCC to D-II for the Team Duals, but it didn't matter because the Pride’s goal for a blue banner hadn’t changed.
Pitman advanced after shutting out McClatchy 81-0 in the first match, followed by a win over Bella Vista, 43-20, to launch them into the final against CCC foe GV.
The Pride came in undefeated in CCC duals this season with a perfect 6-0 record and had defeated GV 37-21 back on Jan. 25.
“It actually made me a bit more nervous facing GV since we faced them before,” said Vasconcellos.
GV had just swept through Ponderosa, an established program with over 30 Section Team Dual titles.
That didn't faze the Pride, who were wrestling without two of their regular starters that included Trey Peacock (106).
The Pride won 10 matches and only lost four matches to GV in the final, notching the win handedly.
The winners included: Cesar Tellez (120), Trevor Maddox (126), Kendall La Rosa (132), Adam Velasquez (138), J. La Rosa (160), Isaiah Perez (170), Jesus Padilla (182), Brendan Tallent (195), Anthony Carbajal (220) and heavyweight Julian Barrera.
Pitman outscored all three opponents, 167-41 in the process.
“You don't usually expect it and can do things on paper and have to take care of things, but you never know how dual meets go because one match can determine the match,” said Vasconcellos.
The victory was clinched after Barrera secured the win via fall.
The entire Pitman bench cheered and the crowd celebrated after Barrera’s victory.
“We talk about varsity and how we performed but our JV hasn't lost in three years, and that is why we have been successful, because we bring these kids to Sections,” said Vasconcellos. “We coach all kids in the wrestling room to be elite and that is why we’ve been able to do great since the kids follow up.”
Vasconcellos also said his coaching staff has been crucial to the program’s development.
“I want to give a shout-out to our coaches as well, Tim McCabe, Cristian Vasquez, Joey La Rosa and Frank Clementi,” said Vasconcellos. “They care for all kids in the room and that is why we are competitive, because we care for all kids and that is why it’s different giving all the kids the attention.”
Pitman, along with Turlock, will compete in the CCC League Tournament at a time yet to be determined at Turlock on Thursday.