The Bulldogs finished third in the league tournament Saturday at Chavez High in Stockton, but their undefeated record in league dual matches gave them the advantage for the overall league title.
The Lodi Flames had the lead going into the final matches. Lincoln wasn’t far behind, and Tracy had only a slim chance of catching up to either team. There was also Chavez to contend with, as the Titans held a one-point lead over Tracy.
Lincoln went on to win four of its five final matches for a first place team score of 226.5. Lodi won just one of its five final matches for a score of 225 and second place. Tracy’s advantage going into the finals was having wrestlers in seven of the 14 matches, and three of them won for a final team score of 202 and third place. The Bulldogs finished just one point ahead of Chavez, which won two of its six final matches for a fourth-place score of 201. Bear Creek finished fifth and Franklin sixth.
The overall league championship is based on a simple points system, with a team getting one point for each team defeated in the league dual match season, and one point for each team defeated in the tournament. The tournament result for the top three was the reverse of the dual match result, which had Tracy in first at 5-0, Lodi second at 4-1 and Lincoln third at 3-2. That left Tracy, Lincoln and Lodi in a three-way tie for first place overall.
The tie-breaker was how teams did in their head-to-head matchups in dual meets, and Tracy beat both Lincoln and Lodi earlier in the year. Had Chavez finished ahead of Tracy Saturday, Lincoln and Lodi would be tied for first overall, with the title going to Lodi for its dual match win over Lincoln.
Going into the finals Tracy coach Darryl Rond wouldn’t be comfortable with anything other than a series of pins, which was the only way to get close to Lodi and Lincoln.
After seeing some of the team’s top wrestlers settle for second place, Rond had to hope that the points for the last round of matches added up in Tracy’s favor. It turned out that each win Tracy got in the final round was critical.
Carlton McAllister, wrestling in the 119-pound weight class, said he had a frustrating first round, where his efforts to get an advantage on Lodi’s Ruben Vallejo did'nt work out. His moves worked in the second round as he scored a takedown and a near pin.
“I just worked from there. At the end I just couldn’t get out. I was tired but I pushed through and came out on top,” he said. After three rounds he got the 5-2 win.
Tracy senior Dylan Smith, wrestling in the 160-pound class, beat Michael Podesto of Lodi 10-6. It’s Smith’s third individual league championship in his four years of varsity wrestling at Tracy High. He took second place in his weight class in his freshman year.
“Every year there are different wrestlers out here with different styles. It changes every year,” he said, adding that he didn’t expect he would have to go into overtime Saturday, and will have to make improvements before heading to the sub-section meet next week.
Podesto had a 6-4 advantage on points toward the end of the third round, but Smith scored on a reversal in the final seconds to put it into overtime, and then scored on a couple takedowns to end the match 10-6.
Also winning in the final round, in the match that ended up deciding whether Tracy would finish ahead of Chavez for a shot a the title, was senior Chad Fraga in the heavyweight class. He beat the Titan’s Michael Estay 10-4.
It’s his first year as an individual champion, but he had been there each year as the varsity team gained one title after another.
“It was a blast, all four years in a row. Coming off a good youth program (Tracy USA Wrestling Club) I came right into Tracy High and did real good.”
Ten of Tracy’s wrestlers who made it to the top four will go to the subsection meet next weekend. Second place wrestlers for Tracy were Austin Shankel (125), Chase Nicholson (135), Kendrick Bergmann (152), and Tyler Huckaby (171). Albert Landeros (103) took Tracy’s only third place award, and fourth place wrestlers for Tracy were Daniel Nunes (130), and Zach White (145).