El Molino wrestlers top Casa Grande

By HOWARD SENZELL
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

FORESTVILLE — It’s looking more and more like this will be the year El Molino’s wrestling team finally ascends to the Sonoma County League title.

It sure looked that way Wednesday night, as what figured to be a close match with Casa Grande turned out to be a 54-21 victory for the Lions.

This was the final tune-up for El Molino before next Wednesday’s meet against defending champion Healdsburg. The Greyhounds have won the league title four of the past five years.

Against Casa, El Molino prevailed in 10 of the 14 divisions. No wrestler was more impressive than junior Blake Borges in the 140-pound class, who defeated Sean O’Brien with an 18-2 technical decision. Both are ranked in North Coast Section and Borges is No. 23 in his weight class in California.

“Once the match got under way I was pretty confident,” Borges said. “I was able to score points against him early and then I wanted the pin.”
Borges thought he’d accomplished his goal late in the second round, but the referee disagreed.

“I thought I got the pin,” Borges said. “So, we wound up going another round and then I was able to get the points for the technical decision.”

Borges, whose father Bill coaches the Lions, finished fourth at NCS last year while wrestling at 114 and advanced to the state tournament where he was eliminated early.

“I’ve put on 20 pounds since last season,” the junior said. “I think most of it is muscle. I eat healthy, train hard and lift weights. I’ve improved over last year, hopefully that will pay off with our team winning league.

“I’m concentrating on being more aggressive and less cautious. Mentally, I’m always working toward breaking my opponent down mentally. I think I did that against O’Brien.”

Borges is 14-6 this season and has placed in every tournament he’s entered.

“We had a great performance against Casa and hopefully we’ll be good enough to beat Healdsburg,” his father said. “They lost a lot of wrestlers to graduation and we only lost four. This could be our year.”

A bright spot for the Gauchos was the victory by Jack Fausone in the 152-pound division. The junior defeated Johnny Fuentes, 11-6.
Fausone, who came in ranked No. 37 in the state, is 6-foot-4. He usually towers over his opponent.

“I have long legs and try to use them to my advantage,” Fausone said. “I wasn’t happy with the way I wrestled tonight. My takedowns weren’t good. I need to improve my standing game.”

Fausone is 14-3 this season.

“We lost 18 seniors from last year,” coach Isaac Raya said. “With inexperience you have to deal with the mental part of wrestling. That’s where we are. We’re learning to fight through adversity. Overall, I was happy with the way we wrestled.”

Casa is 1-1 and El Molino 2-0.