ELK GROVE — Four months ago, Ponderosa High wrestler Trae Providence knew sacrifices had to be met in order to lose 10 pounds to compete in the 160-pound class.
“I cut down all of the junk food,” Providence said. “I just had to eat smart and keep running. I completely feel the difference. That was the initial game plan.”
The senior is reaping the rewards of less carbs and harder workouts. Competing against Folsom’s Connor Watson for the 160s title at the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I-A tournament at Franklin High Saturday, Providence posted a close 4-2 victory to earn his second consecutive title in the weight class in as many years. Last week, Providence won his weight class at the Delta River League tournament.
“He’s done a great job managing (his workouts and eating habits) outside of the weight room,” said Ponderosa head coach Tyson Escobar of Providence.
Providence is one of 10 Bruin grapplers advancing to the section’s Masters meet that will take place at Stockton Arena this Friday and Saturday. Ponderosa had 13 guys compete at the divisional tournament.
The Bruin joined Oak Ridge’s Brandon Clairborne (138) as the only other El Dorado County champion. Clairborne, a sophomore, posted a 24-9 major decision over the Bruins’ Colin Hustrulid.
Providence’s match against Watson was tied 1-all entering third period. A takedown and escape gave the Bruin a 4-1 lead halfway through the period but Watson escaped to cut Providence’s lead with 15 seconds left. Watson couldn’t come closer and Providence had the title.
“He knows a lot of what I’m doing out there on the mat, I can hear the (Folsom) coach yelling to counter some of my moves,” said Providence of Watson. “That’s when I mix it up.”
Escobar added, “They both know what each other does. It’s just a matter of who’s mentally tougher, and can stay in the best position to win.”
Clairborne, who also won his weight class at the league tournament, jumped out to an early 7-1 lead in the first period over Hustrulid and ended the first two minutes of the match with a 10-2 advantage.
In the second period, Hustrulid reversed and the two exchanged points with Clairborne leading 19-9 entering the third period. The Trojan recorded the final five points for the win.
Oak Ridge head coach Casey Rhyan knew Clairborne would be successful at the divisional tournament. But he admits he was shocked to see the sophomore win by a technical fall.
“Brandon barely caught him at the end to beat him (the first time when Oak Ridge and Ponderosa met in a dual league meet last month),” Rhyan said. “He’s taken a huge jump. Now nothing surprises me about him right now; I don’t put anything past Brandon.”
Escobar added, “We got caught on our backs a few times. That was the difference in the match.”
A combined three Bruin and Trojan matmen competed for first place in their respective weight classes. Oak Ridge’s James Portilla (170) lost to Turlock’s Albino Orozco by a 5-4 decision. Behind 5-3 toward the end of the third period, Portilla recorded an escape point but the buzzer went off to end the match.
The Trojans’ Ryan Redhair (145) lost a 12-2 major decision to Folsom’s Lorenzo De La Riva in their title bout. Trojan teammate Bishane Segal (182) was defeated by Folsom’s Nick Fiegener, 27-10.
As a team, Ponderosa took third place with 139 points. Oak Ridge was fourth with 132 points. Folsom won the team D-IA title with 238 points. Along with the Delta River League, the Delta Valley Conference, Central California Conference and the San Joaquin Athletic Association grapplers competed at the tourney.
“I’m very happy with how our team placed,” Escobar said. “Having two in the finals, one champion, is good.”
The top eight grapplers in each weight class advance to the Master’s meet. Below is the list of Oak Ridge and Ponderosa matmen placing in the top eight.
Oak Ridge — 106: Josh Ploke, 3-2, 5th. 152: Corbett Ralston, 2-3, 8th. 195: Sherman McVay, 3-2, 7th. 220: Patrick Erwin, 2-3, 7th.
Ponderosa — 106: Austin Ward, 3-2, 7th. 113: Zach Miller, 3-2, 6th. 120: Pre Deitchman, 2-3, 6th. 152: Elan Tubbs, 3-2, 5th. 170: TJ Shamblin, 3-2, 4th. 195: Joe DelValle, 2-3, 6th. 220: Kyle Jennings, 3-3, 6th. HWT: Nathaniel Moody, 4-2, 4th.