Wrestlers just short of title

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 7, 2013 

One of the goals of Los Banos High wrestling this year was to take a Sac-Joaquin Section duals title. There was one school standing in the way, as it does most years, Oakdale.

And after Oakdale defeated Los Banos 52-13 in the championship on Feb. 1, it will be the Mustangs that hang the blue banner from their gym's rafters.

"This whole season we've been focused on Oakdale, and trying to get a banner," Los Banos coach Josh Adams said. "We went out and really banged heads with them right out of the gate, and wanted to, not send a message, but go out and wrestle our match, and be as competitive as possible, and in their face, and on their head the whole time."

LB took an early lead after Riko Quintana and Jimmy Felix earned wins, but things fell apart after that.

"We would wrestle matches and lose by decision, nothing really got away from us too bad," Adams said. "We got pinned at a couple of the heavy weights, but I was really happy with our performance and not giving anything away, and just coming out and banging heads right away."

Los Banos and Oakdale wrestlers will get a chance to see each other again at the SJS Division 4 tournament in a couple of weeks. LB, the third seed in the six-team duals tournament, advanced to the championship with a 33-30 win over Weston Ranch in the first round and a 43-20 win over Vista del Lago in the semifinals.

Los Banos' head games almost cost them in the first round. Adams talked to the Vista del Lago coaches before the tournament and conceded the second seed with the thought that his team wrestles better with a warm-up match.

"Being the three seed allowed us to wrestle Weston Ranch, and as soon as I took the mat I saw an Oakdale coach in this corner, a Vista coach over here, so I switched up our lineup a little bit and threw in some extras a little bit," Adams said. "So the score didn't -- well, it reflected what we put out there, but we knew we just needed to do enough to get past Weston, and then we put our better squad against Vista del Lago."

Los Banos hosts the Western Athletic Conference finals tomorrow. The Tigers went undefeated in league duals, but most likely needs to win the tournament to repeat as WAC champions. The WAC awards 8 points for dual champion and 8 points for the tournament champion, so should Central Catholic, who finished second in the dual standings, win the tournament, the two would finish as co-champions.

"Central Catholic has a good tournament team. All it takes is a good core of individuals -- you don't have to have a full lineup, but if you have individuals that make it to the finals, then you score a lot of team points doing that," Adams said. "We just need to wrestle tough, not give up any points in those matches. Any head-to-head, we've got to treat it like a dual meet, not going for anything risky."

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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