Each competitor in the annual Lloyd C. Engel Wrestling Tournament is seeded during the first day into one of four brackets for Saturday’s matches, topped by A Bracket qualifiers.
Patterson coach Lee Scoles took nine of his varsity athletes to the two-day competition and saw three vault into various medal rounds.
“This was a tough tournament for our kids, and the largest one we’ve been to this season,” Scoles said. “In the end, our kids ended up wrestling against opponents with similar abilities. It was a good experience for our team.”
Sophomore Daniel Cota (126 pounds) picked up a third-place victory in the A Bracket when he pinned his opponent.
“There were no easy matches at this tournament,” Scoles said. “Daniel wrestled incredibly tough and smart, and that hard work paid off for him in the end.”
Patterson senior Joey Howard saw his first tournament action since he was sidelined by a leg injury during competition in the James Riddle Classic on Dec. 8 at Oakdale High School.
Howard (145) made his way to the winner’s circle Saturday following his second-place finish in the C Bracket.
“This was probably the toughest weight class in the division,” Scoles said. “Joey was able to wrestle with his head. He found a way to get points without exposing himself.”
Austin Lewis, a sophomore 145-pounder, came away with a third-place nod in the D Bracket.
“Austin continues to make improvements — mostly mental ones,” Scoles said. “I see the things he’s able to do, and he’s becoming a better wrestler with each experience on the mat.”
Patterson junior Manuel Cruz (138) just missed qualifying for the A Bracket medal round.
“Manuel didn’t medal, but he was a highlight for our team at this tournament,” Scoles said. “In any other tournament, the performance he gave would have earned him a medal.”
Hard work on the practice mats, relating to both muscle and effort, was evident during the weekend event, Scoles said.
“I’m pleased with the way our kids wrestled at the tournament,” Scoles said. “Most of our wrestlers are starting to peak at the right time. I feel good about the way we are competing.”
The Western Athletic Conference season continues at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, as Patterson (1-3 WAC) hosts Pacheco High of Los Banos.
Los Banos 60, Patterson 16
Patterson lost a WAC dual meet at Los Banos High on Jan. 9.
While Scoles was disappointed by the team’s third straight league defeat, he said his wrestlers appeared to be in a good frame of mind heading into the home stretch.
“Los Banos didn’t just walk over us,” Scoles said. “Wrestling outcomes aren’t the same as other sports like basketball. This was a very competitive match all the way through. We can feel good about how we competed.”
Los Banos — the league’s top-ranked squad — won 10 of the 14 individual matches, eight of them by pin and two by forfeit.
Patterson won one match by pin and three by decision.
The home team won five individual matches in a row before Cota, wrestling in the 126-pound weight class, scored for his team with a pin against Josh Bustamonte.
Cruz defeated Gabriel Mendoza of Los Banos 13-4 in the 138-pound match, and Howard (145) followed with a 5-1 decision against Andrew Cintora, but Los Banos took four of the next five matches.
Sophomore Eloa Chadwick (170) also earned a decision for the Tigers.
“This loss isn’t the end of the world,” Howard said. “Los Banos is a tough opponent every year. Right now, we’re focusing on our next opponent and getting ready for the league tournament.”
Junior varsity: Patterson 34, Los Banos 30
The JV Tigers (4-0 WAC) notched three pins en route to victory against Los Banos.
Patterson’s Joseph Ruelas pinned Carla Diaz at 145 pounds; Zeke Miranda followed with a pin of Harbir Dhillon at 160; and 170-pounder Brad Gill pinned Elizabeth Pelayo.
Tony Halcon (126), Ethan Schut (132) and Adam Melo (152) beat their Los Banos opponents by decision.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.