Besides the host Cougars, Folsom High, Elk Grove High, Bella Vista High of Fair Oaks and Ponderosa High of Shingle Springs were just some of the upper echelon squads performing both Friday, Jan. 10 and Saturday, Jan. 11.
Over the last couple of seasons, Patterson High has etched out its own impressive niche in the Sac-Joaquin Section as well, and last weekend at Escalon, the Tigers took five of their top wrestlers: Adrian Luna (106 pounds), Sean D'Ocampo (113), Jordan Canseco (126), Manuel Cruz (138) and Francisco Plasencia (195).
The unique format of the annual event which began in 1965, seeds wrestlers into one of four brackets during the first day, topped by the A Bracket qualifiers on Saturday. The result is the gaining of experience against opponents similar in caliber.
Patterson finished strong in the A Bracket to send four of its five grapplers -- Luna, Canseco, Cruz and Plasencia -- in a battle of tough wrestling competition Saturday.
"Four of our guys wrestled hard and went 3-0 on Friday to move into the A Bracket," said Patterson coach Virgil Canseco. "That's an accomplishment in itself, as the A Bracket had a lot of state-qualifiers and wrestlers who are ranked in the section."
While none of Patterson's A Bracket wrestlers brought home hardware from the tournament, which sends more than 400 athletes from 40 programs to compete on the mat, Virgil Canseco said his contingent appeared to be in a good frame of mind heading into the home stretch of the league campaign.
"We're looking forward to the rest of the season," Virgil Canseco said. "We need some help from some other teams to get us a tie (for first place in the Western Athletic Conference), and we still have a shot at (a league title)."
D'Ocampo made his way to the winner's circle Saturday following his second-place finish in the C Bracket.
The conference season continues at 6 p.m. Jan. 29, as Patterson (2-1 WAC) hosts Livingston High.
Central Catholic 40, Patterson 24
The Tigers led 24-9 early, but Patterson eventually lost its grip in a WAC dual meet against visiting Central Catholic High of Modesto on Jan. 8.
The home team won six of the first eight individual matches, claiming one match by pin, one match by technical fall and four by decision.
Luna, wrestling in the 106-pound weight class, scored for his team with a technical superiority, outscoring his Central Catholic opponent by 15 points.
Jordan Canseco earned a pin for the Tigers, defeating rival 126-pounder Timmy Gutierrez of Central Catholic.
"As a sophomore, Jordan had lost to (Gutierrez) at the Sac-Joaquin Section tournament," Virgil Canseco said. "He went out this time and pinned him, and that was a big win."
D'Ocampo (113), Justin Gonzalez (132), Cruz (138) and Michael Boschi (152) beat their Raider opponents by decision.
"I was impressed with Justin Gonzalez for stepping up and coming through with a win at the varsity level," Virgil Canseco said.
Staph infection and injuries have recently forced Patterson athletes out of the action and put them on the sidelines.
Their impending return, coupled with internal improvements on the practice mat, will fuel the local squads late-season charge.
"We haven't had everyone in the lineup like we would have liked," Virgil Canseco said. "We look forward to getting those guys back soon."
The JV Tigers (2-1 WAC) notched one win on the mat en route to a 40-18 victory against Central Catholic.
Jerome Crocket (160) earned a decision for Patterson.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.