The win in the final TCAL dual match sets up West to claim the TCAL title when teams meet once more at the league tournament on Feb. 11 at Tokay High in Lodi. With a 5-0 record in league duals, West can claim its second league title in a row with a win or with second place at the league tournament.
Both West and McNair were undefeated in league duals going into Tuesday’s match. The team score was close for most of the night, coming down to the final matches in the heavyweight classes. It took a pin from Amrit Singh in the 195-pound match to help West catch up in the team score, and a pin from senior Matt Mahe in the 220-pound match put West in the lead.
“I felt confident. I knew I was going to come out with the win,” Mahe said. “We were up, they were up. It was a good match all the way through. One of the best matches of my life, and in my senior year too.”
With the team score at 34-30, McNair still had a chance to take the team match back with one more individual match to go. West senior Devon Hutchins, wrestling in the 285-pound class against Nicholas Cisneros, started with the advantage, got in trouble when Cisneros reversed on him, and Hutchins then scored a reversal on Cisneros and was able to get the pin with 23 seconds left in the first period.
Hutchins said it clear that the pressure was on him, and while he won it on a first-period pin, he knew going in that it would be one of his tougher matches this year.
“I give it up to Nick Cisneros. Just because I won it here doesn’t mean he’s less of a wrestler than me,” Hutchins said, adding that he had to think fast when Cisneros had him at a disadvantage.
“I figured if he got me to the ground and tried to hold me, he was going to try some type of backward lateral or he was going to try to cut me down. As soon as he did, something clicked and I just flipped over and I caught him on his back. Once he was there I locked it in and held on,” Hutchins said.
The pressure to keep winning matches and getting pins was on all of the Wolf Pack’s wrestlers. While the 160-pound match was decided on a low score of 3-2, West junior Scott Romo had to find a way to take back the advantage over McNair’s Viet Le in the second period, and the two struggled for an advantage through the third period, with Romo getting the winning point on an escape.
“I knew I could not lose,” Romo said. “My team captain told me, ‘You cannot get pinned.’”
West coach Carlos Salazar said that his team could have been better-prepared, but the Wolf Pack finished with a strong effort.
“I told them, leave everything that you have on the mat tonight. You don’t take anything home, and it made me proud,” he said.
West won eight of the 14 matches, including five by pin, one by major decision and two by decision. McNair won six matches, including four by pin and two by decision.
Wins for West were: Angel Castillo (106) pinned Brandon Tran in 3:20, Ulysses Juan (113) pinned Yo Vang in 3:21, Roy Bravo (126) beat Gary Thao on a 9-8 decision, Daniel Austin (145) beat Michael Ungab on a 12-4 major decision, Scott Romo (160) beat Viet Le on a 3-2 decision, Amrit Singh (195) pinned Elijah Cisneros in 3:56, Matt Mahe (220) pinned Josue Vega in 1:27, and Devon Hutchins (285) pinned Nicholas Cisneros in 1:37
Wins for McNair were: Andy Huynh (120) beat Michael Montoya on a 4-0 decision, Jared Ollenberger (132) pinned Lenin Priego in 1:49, Daniel Navarro Jr. (138) pinned Gabe Trujillo in 44 seconds, Angel Guerrero (152) beat Chris Maroulas on a 6-4 decision, James Wilson (170) pinned Antonio Orosco in 1:52, and Joseph Congraave (182) pinned Gilberto Sanchez in 2:30.
Junior varsity: McNair 64, West 10
West won two of the 14 matches and McNair won 11, including 10 by pin and one by major decision. The 106-pound match was a double forfeit.
Wins for West were: Daryn Higaki (145) beat Alexander Moran on an 11-3 major decision, and Isaac Martinez (160) pinned Eva Silva in 44 seconds.
Wins for McNair were: Roshan Suasin (113) pinned Ron Sasing in 5:05, John Yang (120) pinned Victor Villapando in 1:38, Joseph Yang (126) pinned Ryan Suboran in 1:21, Linda Esquivel (132) pinned Brian Estrada in 1:24, Brian Le (138) pinned Nate Bussey in 1:52, Aaron Enerio (152) beat Youseph Sameyee on a 22-8 major decision, Arturo Ortega (170) pinned Dallas Whelan in 1:57, Chris Hortizuela (182) pinned Manuel Figueroa in 39 seconds, Gerald Donaire (195) pinned Adrian Zepeda in 3:02, Chia Vang (220) pinned Reynaldo Alfaro in 54 seconds, and Anthony Bounhoum (285) pinned Jordan Jackson in 55 seconds.