BAKERSFIELD – The last time a Ponderosa High wrestler earned a medal at the California Interscholastic Federation State Wrestling Championships, Nick Troquato and Jeff Camilli were in seventh grade and the top song on the Billboard Top 100 was “Don’t Stop the Music” by Rihanna.
By Ponderosa standards, that’s a pretty long time.
The Bruins ended their medal drought Saturday with a fourth-place honor for Troquato and a seventh-place medal for Camilli. Now they can add two more to the long list of Ponderosa High wrestlers to win medals at the state meet: The two are the 43rd and 44th Bruins to add their names to the list.
Troquato (182 pounds) was content with qualifying last year. This year, he had much bigger plans as the 2013 Masters champ.
“I achieved part of what I wanted. I was going for that title but sometimes it doesn’t work out,” the senior said. “I placed and that’s an accomplishment in itself.”
He came extremely close to reaching the final, dropping a 3-1 overtime decision to Immanuel Barber of Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) in the semifinals. Each wrestler tallied an escape during regulation, then in overtime Troquato went for a single-leg shot but couldn’t finish the move. Barber was able to spin around and get behind, collecting the match-winning takedown.
That loss to Barber stings, he said, because he felt he could win, calling it a missed opportunity in what he considers the biggest match of his life.
“I took a poor shot and he just went behind. At the end of the match I was not in my peak conditioning,” said Troquato, who entered the tournament ranked No. 6 by thecaliforniawrestler.com. “He was more tired than I was, so I was trying to push the pace, but it didn’t work out.”
Troquato opened the tournament with a pin over Fort Bragg’s Jacob Clark in 2:55, then did the same to Chris Whilden of West Torrance in 1:14, sinking a leg ride before turning Whilden for the pin. Next came Kyle Pope of Bakersfield, and Troquato emerged 7-6 in a match that the Bruins coaching staff had prepared him for. That left him undefeated for the first day and one win away from the final, but Barber ended that possibility.
He beat Matt Williams of Sultana (Hesperia) 3-0 after the loss, and closed the day with an 8-5 loss to Sohrab Movahedi of Granada Hills in the third-place match.
The Bruin went 2-2 at last year’s tournament, and that was a big help in this year’s drive, he said.
“When I got here I wasn’t as shocked as I was last year. I had a different mindset this time and different goals. Last year my goal was to make it here,” Troquato said.