Tigers roar in league wrestling opener

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 13, 2012 

The least difficult part of this week's Los Banos wrestling schedule was the league opener against Central Valley.

The Tigers rolled on Wednesday in Ceres, taking down the Hawks 57-9.

"It's definitely a jump-start going into league," Los Banos coach Josh Adams said. "Like I told everybody, we've got a pretty special group this year, and this was our first opportunity to put it all out there. They're working pretty good as a team. Once the momentum gets going, they tend to roll with it from weight to weight."

A pair of matches stood out for Adams -- Jacob Venegas's 6-5 win over CV's Michael Manzur at 113 pounds and Nathan Vander Poel's pin of CV's Adrian Vizcaino at 182 pounds.

"Manzur is a kid that was the league finalist last year. Riko Quintana beat him at 106, and he bumped up to 113," Adams said. "And Jacob controlled him the whole match."

For Vander Poel, it was his first match in three years -- the senior hasn't wrestled since his freshman season.

"He wrestled a kid that is one of the better ones around. That was huge," Adams said.

Even LB's two losses showed the potential of the wrestlers -- Dretel Blackwell got surprised by a Jorge Canales takedown with 1 second remaining to lose 8-7, and Bailey Rodriguez got caught and pinned by Marcus Rodriguez.

"Bailey's a sophomore, he was the starting fullback this year. He knows how to be competitive," Adams said. "Match to match, we're seeing subtle improvement."

The night before the Central Valley dual, the Tigers traveled to Merced and won 30-29.

"We had some guys that were focused on making weight for Central Valley match, and we held a couple of them out," Adams said. "It's hard to compete while you're maintaining your weight. They have some tough guys in those middle weights, and they won a few matches there."

Los Banos spent Friday and Saturday at the Chukchansi Invitational at Madera South High, which wasn't a huge tournament, but featured a few returning state placers and champions.

"It was a good early measuring stick, and I'm happy with how we did there," Adams said.

Several LB wrestlers placed -- Tyler Felix took fourth at 106, Jimmy Felix was sixth at 132, Marcus Carrillo took sixth at 160 and Josh Priest placed eighth in the heavyweight division.

This weekend the Tigers head to the Reno Tournament of Champions, which attracts schools from all over the country, before hosting the Morning Star invitational Dec. 22 -- the high school tournament is Dec. 22, and the youth tournament is Dec. 23.

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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