FOLSOM — For wrestlers at Ponderosa and Oak Ridge, it’s the time of year where all the training and hard work starts to pay off. With the duals and tournaments complete, wrestlers look forward to the postseason and the journey toward the state meet.
That quest for the Bruins and Trojans began Saturday as both teams competed at Folsom at the Delta River League Championships. Each program had a good showing: Ponderosa emerged with four champions and a second place finish to the host school while Oak Ridge had two champs and came in a close third. Overall, 25 wrestlers advanced to this week’s Divisionals Tournament hosted by Ponderosa.
“Our guys wrestled well today and of the fourteen weight classes we are sending a bakers’ dozen to the divisionals next week. Our team placed well and our group put themselves in good positions for next week,” Bruin coach Tyson Escobar said.
One of those wrestlers that is in good position next week for the Bruins is Jacob Gonzales at 113 pounds. After trailing in the third period, Gonzales took his opponent down to his back to earn an exciting pin and the league title.
“That was a scramble situation and the training we do helped me for the situation. This feels great and we will see where this can take me,” Gonzales said.
At 126s, Ponderosa’s Sean Melton attempted to join Gonzales but fell behind early and suffered a 5-0 defeat for a second place finish.
The Trojans had three straight finalists at 132, 138, and 145 pounds. For Cameron Miller (132), Taylor Ellerman (138) and Ali Atebar (145), the finals were a tough experience. All three ran into tough competition and suffered defeats to take second place.
That changed for Oak Ridge at the 160-pound weight class as Keaton Subjeck earned a second-period pin for a league championship.
“Today I felt that I was able to get to the next level and that I am wrestling well. Right now next week is divisionals, then masters and state and I am looking forward to be wrestling my best when we get to the state meet,” Subjeck said.
The first intra-county finals matchup occurred at 171 pounds with Trojan Hugh Ellerman up against Nick Troquato from Ponderosa. The match was close during the first period but Troquato used several takedowns in the second to secure a 10-4 advantage before Ellerman suffered an injury and decided as a precaution not to continue, giving Troquato the victory.
“Today I wanted to push the pace and I was able to do that. Right now I am wrestling with confidence and look forward to next week, Masters and then state,” Troquato said.
The 182-pound bout also featured area wrestlers as Bruin Jacob Richards grappled Trojan Zach Claiborne. In the early stages, Claiborne used a takedown and near fall for a 5-0 advantage before Richards battled back by using many double leg takedowns to narrow the score to 9-8 by the end of the second period. In the third, Richards eventually took the lead on the way to an 18-11 victory.
“The entire match I stayed motivated and knew that I could come back. I just continued to take shots and knew that I was in good condition. This is exciting to be league champion and I am looking forward to divisionals and wrestling well next week,” Richards said.
At 195 pounds, Ponderosa’s Jorden Marinelli had a difficult time against his opponent and had to settle for a second place finish after a 4-0 defeat. In 220s, Oak Ridge’s Xavier Lopez completed the day for the Trojans with a thrilling first-period pin to take home a league title.
“The coaches have been working with me on snap downs and shots and today I used them. Now it is time for divisionals and I feel confident and look forward to the next couple of weeks,” Lopez said.
The Bruins also finished the day on a winning note as Jeff Camilli (HWT) earned an exciting 3-2 victory in the finals to take home a league championship.
“That guy from Folsom is tough and we have wrestled close matches all year. Today I was able to stand up and get the takedown for the victory. Now it is to next week and we might wrestle again however I am confident and look forward to next week,” Camilli said.
Along with the champions and second-place finishers, both the Trojans and Bruins had other wrestlers who advanced. For Oak Ridge, Andrew Gularte (120), Trey Reese (126) and Preston Dean (195) were all third while Ponderosa’s third-place finishers were Christian Canepa (132), T.J. Spangler (138), Trae Providence (145) and Andrew Keane (152).
Fourth-place finishers from Oak Ridge were Josh Ploke (106) and Jacob Proul (HWT). For Ponderosa, Jacob Garcia (120), Josh Ferry (160) and Henry Sharoyan (220) placed fourth.
All wrestlers that placed first through fourth will compete at the Divisionals this Friday and Saturday at Ponderosa.
“The tournament was great and our team is wrestling better here at the end of the season. This is a good league and it was great to have seven of our guys in the finals. Now we are excited about next week and we shall see what happens,” Troy coach Casey Rhyan said.