The matchup was between the leaders of their respective leagues, West the winner of last year’s Tri-City Athletic League tournament and second-place overall in the TCAL, and Lodi was last year’s San Joaquin Athletic Association tournament and overall champion.
West coach Ed Carlos said that he came into the season knowing that he would have a lot of experienced wrestlers on the team, but he expects that they will still have to work harder in practice to meet their potential.
“For them to show and perform this well, if we pick up the pace in practice we can have a good season,” he said. “Up and down the lineup I feel very confident that each wrestler can get the win.”
West faced a Lodi team that last year denied Tracy its fifth straight SJAA title by a narrow margin. The original count of team scores at the end of last year’s SJAA league tournament indicated that Tracy was the overall championship, but a recount gave Lodi, which went into the league match in second place, the advantage in the end.
Carlos figured the first matches against Lodi on Wednesday could have gone either way. After West won the 135-pound weight class by forfeit, senior Kyle Selna was first up in the 140-pound class. He beat Lodi’s David White on a 6-3 decision.
“I think Lodi is going to be a really tough team, so I just wanted to wrestle my best and not get pinned,” Selna said.
Following him was junior Daniel Austin (145), who beat Dustin Sefried on a 7-3 decision. Austin said the team had to prove it was ready to go up against tough competition right away.
“We had a feeling we were going to win but we really weren’t sure, because we know this (Lodi) team is a really good team,” he said. “They showed it tonight, getting a couple pins and getting close in a lot of other matches. We just came in and did our game plan, and wrestled how we knew we were supposed to wrestle.”
Senior Jacob Biehl added that the win was a big confidence boost for the start of the season, and he was glad to contribute with a win in the third round of the 152-pound match. He pinned Lodi’s Adam Carleton in 4:53.
“I just wanted to start off this dual meet with a pin to start our team off. We should be able to go off from here and get more wins.”
In all, West won 10 of the 14 matches, including one by forfeit, three by decision and six by pin. Lodi won four matches, including one by forfeit, one by decision and two by pin.
Other wins for West were: Dominic Williams (189) beat Colin Anderson 8-3, Kris Merrill (285) pinned Tanner Purdy in 3:29, Ulysses Juan (112) pinned Nick Pette in 1:46, Justin Martin Del Campo (119) pinned Raymond Varvel in 2:50, Trevor Manaois (125) pinned Luke Jump in 1:53, and Daniel Aflague (130) pinned Joshua Smith in 1:17.
Wins for Lodi were: Jacob Holly (160) pinned Christian Maroulas in 1:39, Khenyada Beck (171) pinned Christian Thiessen in 4:40, and Daniel Frazier (215) beat Matt Mahe 7-4.
West’s junior varsity wrestlers won with a score of 53-9. West won four by forfeit, one by technical pin and four by pin. Lodi won three by decision. Two matches were double forfeits. Winners for West included: Carlos Ocampo (140) beat Jacob Marcee 13-0, Aviel Sosa (152) pinned Anthony Smith in :20, Devon Hutchins (285) pinned Brian Collins in 1:07, Ron Sasing (112) pinned James Mettier in 2:27, and Michael Juarez (119) pinned Marcos Ahling in 1:23.
Wins for Lodi were: George Bryant (145) beat Gerrardo Chavez 9-6, Joshua Mastro (160) beat Derek Blake 4-0, and Cody Edsell (215) beat Oneil Ingram 7-6.