A key dual match for the Bulldog wrestlers came down to a series of must-win matches for individual wrestlers at Tracy High Thursday night.
Tracy junior Dylan Smith’s third round pin in the 160-pound weight class sealed Tracy’s 37-33 team win over Cesar Chavez High to keep the Bulldogs in first place in the San Joaquin Athletic Association with a 4-0 record.
“I just went into it like I was going into any other match,” Smith said. “I didn’t want to go in too cocky and lose.”
He said that his opponent, Chavez senior Darren Gacayan, was a strong wrestler, but Smith said he had the advantage with skill. Smith was on his way to a win by decision in the third round when he made the pin.
“He tried to get a single takedown on me, I just tripped him, brought him to his back … and pinned him,” he said.
Thursday’s win against Chavez shows that Tracy’s wrestlers can outlast their opponents. The Bulldogs won eight of 14 matches and the Titans won six. Tracy won three by pin, one by technical pin and four by decision. Chavez won four by pin, one by forfeit and one by decision.
The order of the matches allowed Chavez to put the pressure on Tracy after the Titans won most of the matches in the heavyweight and lightweight classes.
Tracy’s Jordan Strong and Chavez’ Armando Elizondo went all three rounds in the 215 class. Elizondo scored early on a takedown and near-pin, but Strong also scored a near-pin, and kept racking up points on escapes. The score was 13-13 near the end of the third round when Elizondo reversed on Strong and made the pin with 25 seconds left in the match.
Tracy’s Chad Fraga and Chavez’ Antonio Jiminez took a low scoring match in the 285-pound class all three rounds, and into three overtime rounds. Jimenez scored on a takedown and reversal in the final 30-second round for the 8-5 decision.
After Tracy took a forfeit in the 140-pound class the Bulldogs needed wins in the each of the last three matches.
Zack White (145) and Bailey Barnes (152) both had to go the distance, White with four near-pins against Andrew Vasquez and a final score of 14-1, and Barnes with three near-pins against Francisco Cordova and a final score of 12-4.
“I knew were behind and knew I had to win by points or tech my guy,” White said, adding that the team score doesn’t change his strategy or style. “I just go with my game plan.”
Barnes then needed a major decision in order to take some of the pressure off Smith.
“I knew it was going to be a fight and I’d have to wrestle the whole way,” he said. “I went out there and knew I had to win and that’s what I did.”
Barnes’ major decision put the score at 31-33, with Chavez in the lead. It meant that Smith needed only a win by a decision to take the team win for Tracy.
Even that wouldn’t come easy. Gacayan scored early on a takedown and a near-pin and Smith responded with a couple reversals. After some confusion over the official’s calls, Smith had a 6-5 lead at the end of the first round. He scored a couple more times on takedowns in the second and third rounds for a 13-5 lead, the final takedown leading to a pin with 1:19 left in the match.
Other Tracy wrestlers to win their matches include: Tyler Huckaby (171) pinned Jonique Andrews in 3:14, Josh Mandeville (119) pinned Brandon Baccam in 1:08, Daniel Nunes (125) won on a technical pin in the third round against Edward Piona, Josh Tristan (130) beat Sang Nguyen 8-3, and Chase Nicholson (135) beat Sal Jiminez 8-2.
Nicholson’s match was also one of the key contests as Jiminez, one of the section’s top wrestlers, started to make a comeback in the third round.
“I was kind of nervous going into it because the guy is real tough,” Nicholson said. “Once I got a big enough lead I just tried to hold on.”
Chavez wrestlers to win their matches included: Roderick Spears (189) pinned Marc Chapple in 2:23, Ai-Thuan Nguyen (103) pinned Jesse Leanos in 42 seconds, and Kevin Carranza (112) pinned Cameron Henle in 1:08.
Tracy coach Darryl Rond said that his varsity team now must beat Lodi’s wrestlers on Tuesday to claim the SJAA championship. The league title also depends on how Tracy’s wrestlers do at the SJAA league tournament on Feb. 14.
But a win against Chavez, the Bulldogs toughest competition in the SJAA, gets Tracy into the Sac-Joaquin Section team meet next weekend at Rosemont High School in Sacramento. Only the top team from each league in the section is invited to that event, which will consist of a bracket with each team moving up through dual matches.
Junior varsity: Chavez 46, Tracy 30
Chavez won eight of 13 matches and Tracy won five. There was no match in the 135-pound class. The Titans won six by pin, one by forfeit and one by decision. Tracy won four by pin, and one by forfeit. Tracy’s winners were: Manuel Gamez (119) pinned Daniel Guerrero in 59 seconds, Carlton McAllister (125) pinned Nyiaj Xiong in 2:33, Nate Yerian (140) pinned Keyome Tilley in 30 seconds, and David Ferreira (160) reversed out of a near-pin to pin Raphael Gil in 4:48.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.