The Kimball High wrestling team started its Valley Oak League dual meet series with a pair of wins Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Kimball High.
The Jaguars were short a couple of varsity wrestlers but still dominated competitors from two other schools, winning most of the night’s matches by pin as they beat Sonora 51-30 and Lathrop 57-21.
Four of Kimball’s wrestlers won by pin in both of their matches Wednesday, including sophomore Matthew Jaurique, who competed in the 120-pound weight class in his first year as a varsity wrestler.
During his team’s first dual match of the season Dec. 4 at Tracy High, Jaurique was pinned in the first round by Tracy senior Dalton Gualco.
On Wednesday, he pinned Sonora’s Micah Wilson in 1 minute, 33 seconds and pinned Lathrop’s Chris Garcia in 2:58.
“I think I did a lot better than at the Tracy one,” Jaurique said. “I went back and looked at what I did wrong and was able to fix my problems.”
Sophomore David Gonzalez (132) scored two first-period pins for the Jaguars, pinning Sonora’s Kyle Mantzouranis in 1:18 and Lathrop’s Israel Barreto in 1:19.
“I felt like I could have done better,” Gonzalez said, noting that his goal is to qualify for the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament. “I had some mistakes here and there, but what’s done is done, and I got the wins. We start off strong as a team, not just as individuals.”
Senior Matt Cooper, in his fourth year on the team, said he hopes newer wrestlers enjoy the sport as much as he does. Starting the VOL season with two wins, he said, can only build the Jaguars’ enthusiasm.
“It means that over the last four years, we have gotten much better, and with these two under our belts, that’s just two less that we have to worry about to possibly go to the (SJS) dual meet championships,” Cooper said.
Cooper (220) pinned Sonora’s J.D. Sanchez in 51 seconds and then pinned Omar Fernandez of Lathrop in 59 seconds.
Senior Trent Nicholson (160) also pinned both his opponents — Sonora’s Lucas Pallante in 1:56 and Lathrop’s Alex Torres in 31 seconds.
Kimball coach Tyler Mullen said Wednesday was a good start to the dual meet season. The Jaguars will compete at Sierra High in Manteca on Wednesday, Jan. 15, and then play host to defending VOL champion Oakdale and second-place Sonora on Jan. 22.
“It will continue to get tougher,” Mullen said. “I thought we looked pretty tough tonight. We all performed to our capabilities.”
In Kimball’s 51-30 win over Sonora, junior Joey Grande (126) pinned Austin Hickey in 2:42; senior Michael Stephens (138) pinned Tyler Hammond in 4:42; and junior Reese Chew (145) beat Colton Masters on a 10-3 decision. Kimball also won two matches by forfeit. Sonora won three by pin and two by forfeit.
In the Jaguars’ 57-21 win over Lathrop, Stephens (138) beat Enrique Betancourt on a 7-4 decision; Chew (145) pinned Daniel Pinedo in 1:12; senior Nathan Kountz (170) pinned Ian Chavez in 1:47; and senior Eric Simmonds (285) pinned Matthew Hernandez in 3:39. Kimball won two more by forfeit, and Lathrop won one match by pin, one on a decision and two by forfeit.
In the junior varsity competition, Sonora beat Kimball 51-24 and Kimball beat Lathrop 24-12. In both cases, most of the matches were forfeits. Mullen noted that the district’s academic standards made some wrestlers ineligible to compete in the new semester, and many others did not return to practice after the winter break.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.