Patterson wrestling qualifies eight for divisional tourney
by Marc Aceves | Patterson Irrigator
Feb 15, 2012 | 1539 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Patterson 140-pound varsity wrestler Mark Bettencourt is held down by his opponent during the Western Athletic Conference's championships, in which Bettencourt would eventuallu place third.--photo by Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
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CERES — The Patterson High wrestling team is sending eight wrestlers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament Friday, Feb. 17, at Weston Ranch High in Stockton, which includes two league champions and six others with top-four finishes.

After going 3-3 during the Western Athletic Conference season, Patterson put forth an impressive performance at the league tournament Saturday, Feb. 11, at Central Valley High.

Patterson coach Lee Scoles was pleased with his team’s work on the mats and said he thought his wrestlers’ recent success would translate into the same at the divisional competition.

“Everyone wrestled well — I couldn’t be happier with the group of kids that we had,” Scoles said. “The kids went in with good attitudes and competed tough. Everyone that showed up gave it their best.”

Los Banos High won the WAC tournament team standings with 218½ team points, and Ceres High was second with 161½ points. The Tigers placed sixth with 96½ points.

The top four wrestlers from each weight class advanced to this week’s Division IV championships at Weston Ranch in Stockton, with the fifth as an alternate.

After that, wrestlers will look toward the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament Feb. 23 and 24 in Stockton and the California Interscholastic Federation state championship March 2 and 3 in Bakersfield.

“We have a lot of kids on the brink of something special,” Scoles said. “We are a young team with a positive upside and a bright future.”

Among Patterson’s first-place finishers was freshman Daniel Cota, wrestling in the 120-pound weight class, who beat his opponent from Ceres in the championship match.

“(Cota) was seeded No. 1, and he finished No. 1,” Scoles said. “He had some tough matches, but he stuck with it and showed that all of his hard work pays off. He could very well be wrestling in the second day of the Masters tournament.”

Patterson senior Dallas Hernandez took first in the 197-pound class after he pinned his rival from Ceres in the title match.

“(Hernandez) wrestled with a lot of confidence and earned everything that came his way,” Scoles said. “He seemed to get better as the tourney went along.”

Patterson’s Josh Roberts (108 pounds), Manuel Cruz (133), Mark Bettencourt (140) and Joseph Neal-Clark (heavyweight) each finished third Saturday. Fellow Tigers Jordan Canseco (113) and Eloa Chadwick earned fourth-place nods.

“The kids have bought into the program, and it looks like we are peaking at the right time,” Scoles said. “The kids are working hard and getting better both physically and mentally.”

The Tigers’ junior varsity team also had a slew of top finishers Saturday.

Andrew Basaldua (134) and Daniel Linares (145) each took home first-place honors.

Zeke Miranda (160) and Jacob Martin (170) earned second-place finishes, and Lambert Belandres (115) and Dylan Christiansen (120) claimed third-place medals.

Juan Vargas (134), Adam Melo (154) and Steven Phan (heavyweight) all placed fourth, rounding out the Tigers’ medalists.

“The strength of our team is youth,” Scoles said. “Hopefully, we have another couple of weeks left in our season.”

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