BAKERSFIELD — Vince Waldhauser’s bid to be the first in Oak Ridge wrestling history to bring a gold medal home to the El Dorado Hills campus and his attempt to defeat the nation and state’s No. 1 ranked 160-pounder at the 2011 CIF Wrestling State Championships fell short Saturday on the center mat at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena.
An announced crowd of 18,900, a good many there to support the undefeated hometown favorite Bryce Hammond, witnessed the Bakersfield Driller successfully defend his 2010 state title in a rematch between last year’s finalists.
It was expected to be an epic battle as Hammond, who was wrestling within a stone’s throw of his high school, and Waldhauser, ranked second in the state and the nation, competed for two days — sometimes on adjacent mats — anticipating another appearance on the center platform Saturday night.
Waldhauser kept it close through two periods before Hammond earned two takedowns after Waldhauser had cut him loose from the down position. Hammond’s other takedown came 21 seconds in and the two points held up through the first two periods. Waldhauser scored a point on an optional escape to open the second period.
“He (Hammond) shot a lot better than I thought he would and his early shot caught me off guard. I don’t wrestle a lot of tall wrestlers and it was hard to get to his legs. I shouldn’t have let him score that many points,” Waldhauser said.
Waldhauser leaves as a three-time state medalist after placing seventh in 2009 in the 145-pound division and back-to-back silvers at 160 the last two years. He’ll wrestle next at the University of Virginia while Hammond is slated to stay home and wrestle at California State University, Bakersfield.
“What great kids — Vince and Keaton (Subjeck). I’m really lucky to be able to spend time with those two and the whole team. They love the sport and have a great outlook on life,” Trojan coach Casey Rhyan said. “The sacrifice, the discipline, the hard work — that’s what he’ll take away from this.
Waldhauser dodged a bullet in the semifinals, escaping with a 5-4 overtime decision over Santiago’s Scotty Bacon. The match-winner, with 13 seconds of the extra one-minute period left, was a technical violation on Bacon for leaving the mat, an infraction that used to be stalling but is now an automatic point.
That penalty point was one of three Bacon yielded. The second, for locking hands, happened with three seconds left in regulation to send the match into overtime. An escape with 48 seconds left in the third period put the Trojan in front but Bacon took Waldhauser down with 39 seconds remaining for the lead. As the clock dipped under 10 seconds with his bid to meet Hammond on the line, Waldhauser was in position to switch Bacon who opted for the illegal hold and overtime rather than lose.
Friday, Waldhauser spent quality time on the mat rather than quantity, pinning his way through four opponents for a berth in the semis. He opened in the outbracket, putting Redwood’s Dylan Morris to his back 1:13 into the second period, followed by falls over McFarland’s Eric Marquez, Archbishop Riordan’s Paul Aherne and Poway’s Henry Donahue — all in the first period and all in under a minute.
Oak Ridge wrestler Keaton Subjeck climbed his way to eighth place in the tournament. Subjeck also won a sportsmanship award.