SHINGLE SPRINGS — Ponderosa wrestling topped Merced 43-18 to capture the team title in its 25th annual varsity Ponderosa Duals inside the Bruin gym Friday.
The Bruins (5-0) won nine of the 14 matches, capping a perfect day for Ponderosa. There were 10 Bruin grapplers that posted 5-0 records at the nine-school dual tournament.
Austin Ward (106-pounds), Zack Miller (120), Jake Gonzales (126), Elan Tubbs (138), Colin Hustrulid (145), Robert Holloway (152), Zach Velasquez (160), Trae Providence (170), Kyle Jennings (220) and Nathaniel Moody (HWT) each went undefeated and made the All-Tournament team. Josh Ferry (182) went 4-1 in his matches.
“As a team, this is a great barometer to see where we’re at,” said Ponderosa head coach Tyson Escobar, who doubles as the school’s athletic director. “What we need to work on, what we need to get better. It’s exposed some of our weaknesses. But that’s what we want to see. This is a good tournament.”
Tubbs won his match by pin to start the match against the Bears, while Hustrulid, Holloway, Velasquez, Providence and Ferry won their matches by decisions to give the Bruins an 18-0 lead.
After Merced won two of its next three matches to make it 18-9, Ponderosa posted wins in three of the remaining five matches for the team win. Two came from TJ Holloway (113s) winning by pin in 40 seconds in the first round and Gonzales posting a 6-2 decision.
Throughout the one-day tourney, the Bruin grapplers dominated their opponents, winning more than 90 percent of their matches by pins within the first two periods.
“We’re better than last year, that’s for sure,” Escobar said. “The time and effort the kids put into the summer, and you can see it on the mat. They have definitely improved a ton. The strength of our team is the middle weights, and we have three seniors in our line-up.”
Taking third place behind Merced was Corning, followed by Damonte Ranch, Reed (Nevada), Placer and Cosumnes Oaks. Rounding out the final two spots were Rocklin and Inderkum.
Before facing Merced, Ponderosa beat Cosumnes Oaks, 63-7, winning 12 of 14 matches. In other pool play matches, Ponderosa blanked San Ramon Valley, 81-0, pinned down Placer, 70-7 and dominated Damonte Ranch, 58-6.
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