Stagg’s Gage Ferrier had Soto on his back in the first round of the 126-pound match, but the Wolf Pack wrestler knew he had to endure to protect the precarious 29-28 lead his team held at the start of his match.
“I figured just go all-out until you just can’t move anymore,” Soto said after pinning Ferrier 25 seconds into the second period.
West’s 35-28 team win, in combination with a 63-9 win at Edison on Wednesday, Jan. 30, means the Wolf Pack (4-1 Tri-City Athletic League) still has a chance to challenge Tokay for the league title at the TCAL championship on Feb. 9 at Tokay High.
Soto never wavered in his determination to win his Friday match, even though Ferrier seized the advantage early with a takedown and then scored on a near-fall.
“He caught me off guard at first,” Soto said. “It was very scary, but then I was like, I’ve just got to try my best to bridge and just get out of it.”
He scored on a reversal and a near-fall to tie the match 5-5 going into the second round.
“When I got up I knew that I’ve still got a chance. Just go for it,” Soto said.
His teammates also battled through tough competition.
Adrian Zepeda, wrestling in the 182-pound weight class, overcame a 6-3 deficit with an escape and a takedown in the third period and then was attacked by painful leg cramps through three overtime periods.
He scored on a takedown and a reversal in overtime to win it on 10-6 decision.
“I said to myself, ‘What’s going to motivate me?’” Zepeda said. “I looked at my team and how hard they tried. I look at my coaches and they wanted to keep me going. I look at the hard work I’ve done and it motivates me to continue on.”
West won eight of the 14 matches. Senior Roy Bravo (145) won a 14-3 major decision, senior Mitchell Selna (152) won a 13-3 major decision, junior Robert Misko (220) won a 7-6 decision, senior Ethan Padilla (285) won a 4-0 decision and West won two by forfeit.
Kimball 57, Manteca 24
Weston Ranch 43, Kimball 30
The Jaguars won one and lost one in a double-dual meet Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Manteca High.
Kimball coach Pete Mullen said the 43-30 loss to Weston Ranch went down to the 197-pound match, where junior Matt Cooper lost a 5-3 decision in overtime. Vinay Rao (122) took his first loss in league competition, a 10-5 decision.
Kimball (5-2 Valley Oak League) had pins by Cooper, junior Trent Nicholson (140), senior Logan Finley (222) and senior Nate Pearlman (287). Bear Creek 42, Tracy 36
What would have been a close match went Bear Creek’s way Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Tracy High after the Bulldogs were dealt a setback in the 147-pound class.
Sophomore Zoheb Bafaiz was penalized for a hard takedown, which counted as a misconduct forfeit and gave the Bruins the advantage in the team score.
Otherwise, Tracy (2-3 San Joaquin Athletic Association) would have had the advantage with pins by junior Dalton Gualco (122) and seniors Albert Landeros (128) and Noah Blackwell (154), and three wins by forfeit.
Leanos said he expected his team to finish the season strong when Tracy High plays host to the SJAA tournament on Feb. 9.
During a league meet last week in Stockton, Tracy beat Chavez 39-24. Wrestlers who won their matches by pin were senior Albert Landeros (132), sophomore Zoheb Bafaiz (145), junior Antonio Orosco (160) and junior Alexander Warner (220).
Senior DeJahn Williams (126), sophomore Jakob Anaya (106) and junior Dalton Gualco (120) all won major decisions, and sophomore Richard Vasquez (182) won by decison.
Four local varsity wrestlers claimed first-place medals Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Sheldon Invitational at Shelton High in Sacramento.
West tied for fifth in the 24-team event with a score of 65. Tracy placed eighth (61) and Kimball was ninth (59). The tournament champion was Enochs of Modesto with 114 points.
West senior Amrit Singh also won the 198-pound class.
Kimball High junior Robert Delgado (109) won his class with two pins and two major decisions, and sophomore Reese Chew (123) placed first with a 7-4 upset of No. 1 seed Ruben Escalente of Inderkum High in the final.
Tracy High senior Albert Landeros (129) won his class with two pins, a technical fall and a win by forfeit in the final.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.