Senior wrestler Billy Strmiska picked the right week to twist an ankle.
Even without its CIF State meet qualifier, the Tracy High wrestling team had more than enough firepower to cruise past an improving Bear Creek team, 58-21, at Swenson Gym on Thursday and stay undefeated in San Joaquin Athletic Association play.
The Bruins (0-2 SJAA), the SJAA’s most improved team in 2005, jumped out to a 12-6 lead before Tracy senior first-year wrestler Conrad deAvellar took to the mat. He took the Bruins’ Brent Moch to the mat in the heavyweight match within seconds of the referee’s whistle. Moch shied away from the imposing deAvellar, a lineman on Tracy’s football team, and the senior scored a pin in 10 seconds.
“I mean, the dude was just weak,” deAvellar said. “I could tell he was scared of me — I went right at him.”
“He knew what he needed to do,” Tracy coach Darryl Rond said, “and he made it happen.”
The lightning-fast win boosted Tracy’s momentum, but the Bulldogs were still level with the Bruins, 18-18, when freshman Chase Nicholson trotted out to wrestle. Nicholson scored a pin in 50 seconds, and Jacob Beaman and Samuel Rosas followed up with pins of their own to put Bear Creek in a 36-18 hole.
“(When it was 18-18), I thought we might be able to run with these guys,” said Bear Creek coach Mike Sandler, San Joaquin Delta College’s head wrestling coach. “But we knew (Tracy) was very talented — they’re the frontrunners in league, and we knew that coming in.”
Rosas’ win might have been the most impressive. The sophomore, in his Swenson Gym varsity debut, fell into a quick 2-0 hole when Bear Creek’s Erik Anderson scored a takedown, but Rosas just as quickly seized control of the match. He scored a reverse and went on top at the minute mark, and wore down Anderson to score a pin with 17 seconds left in the first round.
Senior Khalid Azizi’s forfeit, Drew Nicholson’s 12-2 win at 145 pounds and pins from Travis Silva and Blair Bergmann rounded out Tracy’s winners.
“We came out aggressive,” Silva said. “(Conrad) started it up for us. With the dramatic win, the way he got the pin, it got the team started and got things rolling.”
Tracy can take good things away even from the matches it lost.
Freshman Dylan Smith is a 152-pounder but wrestled up two classes, losing in a tough 171-pound match, and senior Anthony DeAguero, wrestling section qualifier Tito Leniceros, recovered from an early 5-0 deficit to nearly score a pin, but Leniceros held him off 9-6.
Next week, Tracy will face crosstown rival West on Wednesday and Chavez on Thursday. Both matches are at home.
Strmiska should return for the West match, and the Bulldogs (2-0 SJAA, 2-2 overall) will enter the week on a roll.
“Everyone stepped up and did great,” Rosas said. “We’re practicing and working real hard. … I think we’ll take it (a league title) again.”
(JV) Tracy 72, Bear Creek 6
Tracy’s JV squad faced more forfeits than it did Bear Creek wrestlers but made the most of the six matches it did get, recording five pins to improve to 2-0 in SJAA play and 3-1 on the year in dual meets.
Zach White, Marcus Arguello, Ramiro Rojas, Bailey Barnes and Sean Toon all scored pins for the Bullpups.
“What is important for us now, they’re taking what we teach them and executing it out there,” Tracy coach John España said. “That’s the greatest feeling for me, to see that done.”
The JV will head to the Granada JV frosh/soph tournament Saturday before hosting West on Wednesday.