Wrestling: Maria Carrillo pulls away from Casa Grande in NBL dual meet

By PETER FOURNIER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The setting during a wrestling match at Maria Carrillo is somewhat unique. The lights are dimmed and focused solely on the two wrestlers on the mat. The spotlight is literally on the two people fighting for a victory.

In the Pumas’ dual meet with Casa Grande on Wednesday night, that focus really increased with the 170-pound match between Carrillo’s Ben Claiche and Casa’s Joshua Black. With one match to go and Carrillo ahead 36-29, Black could trim a seven-point deficit down to one with a pin.

Claiche didn’t hide his prematch emotions.

“I was definitely scared going into it because I knew it was going to be the turning point in the match,” he said. “Last year we only won by three points, so I knew it was going to be a close one. I knew I had to pull it together to win it for my team.”

Though Black had his chances at getting a pin, it was Claiche who ultimately pulled off the second-round pin, that put the meet out of reach en route to a 46-29 victory for the Pumas.

“Our team is pretty well conditioned, so I knew that I had it in me to turn the match around and get the pin,” Claiche said.

Pumas coach Tim Bruce said Claiche is improving.

“He’s getting better week by week,” Bruce said. “That was huge that he was able to lock that down.”

Bruce said he was concerned but not worried as the Gauchos pulled ahead to a 29-12 lead in the first eight matches.

“We didn’t want to let them get too far ahead,” he said.

But Carrillo would roll out six straight pins to close the match, highlighted by Claiche’s finisher and started by Evan Bluestone’s second-round pin of Anson Morales at 138 pounds.

“We preach leadership,” Bruce said. “As the leader, that’s what he’s supposed to do, start the fire. So, he did his job.

Bluestone’s pin was followed by Travis Wilson’s at 145, Cameron Casey’s at 152, Ben Evans’ at 160, Claiche’s at 170 and Josh Groesbeck’s at 182.

“We were concerned, but I’ve got confidence that every one of those kids is going to do their best,” Bruce said. “That’s all I can ask is for them to do their best.”

Claiche’s high-pressure experience is relatively new to him.

“This is my first year really being on varsity,” he said. “So that’s really exciting, doing the face-offs, this being a big match in the spotlight, it makes it much more intense. It was fun.”

Windsor 65, Rancho Cotate 15

Windsor's Irvin Correa, right, throws Rancho Cotate's Isaiah Barragan during their match at 172 pounds on Wednesday in Rohnert Park. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Windsor’s Irvin Correa, right, throws Rancho Cotate’s Isaiah Barragan during their match at 172 pounds on Wednesday in Rohnert Park. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

At Rohnert Park, the Jaguars’ boys won eight of their matches by pin. Brandon Potts, Austin Wilson, Perez Perez, Dominic DuCharme, Trevor Silva, Robb Waller, Beau Colombini and Paris Henry all collected pins for Windsor.

Luke Au-Yeung won a decision over Rancho Cotate’s Hai Hoang 10-1.

The Rancho Cotate girls cruised to a 52-6 victory.

Cougars’ 108-pounder Sophie Spencer defeated Jaden Estrella in a 13-5 decision, and Vicky Espinoza pinned Kim Correia at 237.

Windsor’s Avi Torres pinned Jen Ortiz at 113 pounds.

Analy 66, Sonoma Valley 6

At Analy, the Tigers (3-0) cruised with three pins, recorded by Steve Schneider at 122 pounds, Ricky Mulato at 154 and Jake Adams 172.

Coach Ryan Stevens said he’s trying to focus on his team’s conditioning as the final stretch of the regular season approaches.

“We’re slowly increasing the amount of live, hard wrestling at the end of practice,” he said.

Analy will be at the Albany wrestling tournament Saturday, before dual meets with Elsie Allen on Tuesday and Piner on Thursday.

Cardinal Newman 50, Santa Rosa 6

At Cardinal Newman, the Cardinals coach Francisco Manriquez singled out Joey Frazier’s 147-pound match, that ended in a first round pin over Ashland West.

“He just looked really tough,” said Manriquez of Frazier. “He looked like a great wrestler tonight.”

Orlenzo Merlin at 115 pounds and Mason Levinson at 122 pounds each recorded pins for Newman.

 

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