Fresh off winning the first Patterson title since 2012 at the SJS Division IV tournament Feb. 22, 132-pounder Daniel Cota attempted to cap off an impressive junior campaign by earning his first state berth.
Adrian Luna (106), who came on strong at the end of the dual season and was looking to make a run as well, is the first Tiger freshman since Cota in 2012 to qualify for the Masters meet.
Both wrestlers took on the best the area had to offer at the Masters tournament but fell short of the state meet.
"There are a lot of really good wrestlers who do not go to state," said Patterson coach Virgil Canseco. "It's a tough, tough road to get there. Our kids compete in one of the toughest sections in the state, and its a long journey."
Wrestlers who finished in the top seven in each weight class qualified to compete for state titles at the CIF tournament Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Cota, who made a third straight trip to the Masters meet, ended his run during the second day of the competition, finishing 3-2 overall in the 132-pound bracket.
Cota, a Patterson co-captain, went 3-1 after the first day of the event, including a 3-2 decision over Joey Terry of Golden Valley High of Merced, a 9-8 decision over Terrell Turner of Elk Grove High and a 3-2 decision in double-overtime over Carlos Vazquez of West High of Tracy.
He was eliminated Saturday in the consolation round after losing to Caleb Patrick of Argonaut High of Jackson on a last-second 7-6 decision.
Cota said he will remember his accomplishments during another successful season on the mats.
"I've made it to Day 2 before and I knew what to expect. I'm just going to keep coming hard. I know I can hang in there with the best of them, and (Friday) was the day to prove it," Cota said. "(Luna) and I talked about it, and we wanted to make the most of it while we were here, and try to put Patterson on the map in our section."
Luna, who earned a third-place medal at the Division IV tournament, concluded Friday's action with a 1-2 record in the 106-pound bracket.
Luna accepted a forfeit from Pioneer High of Woodland's Fermin Novoa before falling to eventual runner-up Christian Ramos of Benicia High and Bilal Baloch of Valley High of Sacramento.
Competing at Masters in his first year of varsity competition, Luna said he hopes to return to the event next season.
"I still have three more years to get farther in this tournament," Luna said. "I wanted to set the pace in my matches, and go out and try my hardest. My thoughts are that I don't want to lose. I want to go out and compete."
Rather than rest on their laurels after such solid seasons, Canseco hopes his wrestlers decide to take their passion for the sport to another level.
"Our next wrestling season starts Tuesday (March 4) for the kids who want to continue to compete," Canseco said. "If you want to continue to get better there's no offseason in this sport."
Wrestling is a sport that requires year-round competition, and club wrestling has become an integral part of the success of many of Patterson's top grapplers, providing athletes with an opportunity to seek out the best competition and hone their skills, Canseco added.
"The wrestling room is always open for those who want to compete. There are no excuses if you want to improve," Canseco said. "Our expectations are always going to be the same: to win league and make it to team duals. If we're not striving for that, then what's the point?"
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.