SHINGLE SPRINGS — Jacob Gonzalez’ pin at 1:12 of the second period toward the end of Friday’s Ponderosa Duals returned the title trophy to the Bruins after an undefeated day of wrestling.
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The 120-pounder led 5-0 at the time before rocking Merced’s Carlos Briones into a match-ending cradle to secure Ponderosa’s tight 34-27 victory. The Bruins placed second behind Will C Wood at last year’s Duals.
Gonzalez took the mat not knowing his team clung to a 28-24 lead with two bouts left.
“I wasn’t aware of the score but after I lost earlier I told myself I was going to give it my all and redeem myself,” Gonzalez said. “When we huddled our team leader, Nick (Troquato), said ‘we need this pin’ so I went out and did it for the team, myself and stuck the cradle.”
Merced had survived three pool rounds and a cross-bracket win over Damonte Ranch depite having to forfeit three consecutive weight classes. It cost the Bears against Ponderosa though Merced rallied to get back most of the 18 lost points. At the time, the Bruins saw their narrow 10-9 advantage bump to 28-9 with five matches left.
“Merced had some tough kids in the middle weight and we broke even (with them),” Ponderosa coach Tyson Escobar said. “We didn’t wrestle particularily well in our last dual and kinda lack-lustered our way through. I was happy with our first four rounds and the kids each got in five matches which was our goal – that and winning the trophy.”
Earlier, the Bruins defeated Pershing County 53-18, Johnson 71-6; a football-player-less Granite Bay 52-13; and Damonte Ranch 57-19.
Ponderosa had four, unbeaten grapplers on the All Tournament team: T.J. Holloway (106), Jimmy Scarr (132), T.J. Shamblin (152) and Troguato (182). Merced placed five.
Scarr opened the finals with a 11-1 major decision before the Bears won a 6-4 overtime match against Jonathon Timm (138) and a 6-3 decision of Christian Canepa (145). Ponderosa reclaimed a 7-6 lead when Shamblin scored a 5-3 win but lost it as Austin Tibbs (160) fell 12-7.
In another close match, Bruin Trae Providence (170) gutted out a 9-7 win for a 10-9 team lead which shot to 28-9 after Merced forfeits to Troquato, Kyle Jennings (195) and Joe Delvalle (220).
When wrestling resumed for the heayweights, Ponderosa’s Henry Sharoyan gave away height, weight in battling Tony Lopez who registered a pin. Merced continued its comeback as Holloway lost a 12-9 heartbreaker and Bruin Pre Deitchman was pinned.
Gonzalez’ pin cemented the outcome before Brady Ruppenthal lost 3-1 to a takedown with 27 seconds left in the third period.