Los Banos wrestlers best in league

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 15, 2013 

Los Banos High's wrestling team won its fourth league championship in a row (three Western Athletic Conference titles to go along with its last Central California Conference title) after taking Saturday's WAC finals with 217 points.

"We came in here and wanted to build a legacy," Los Banos coach Josh Adams said. "When I came in four years ago, I sat down with all these guys, these same parents you see here helping out, we laid out our plan, and it's kind of come to fruition. That first year in the CCC we did some things really well, and then it just kind of built from there."

The Tigers put four wrestlers on top of the medal podium, with brothers Jimmy Felix, a senior, and Tyler Felix, a sophomore, winning at 134 pounds and 108 pounds, plus Marcus Carrillo winning at 154 pounds and Dretel Blackwell taking the 197-pound championship.

"Means a lot. I put a lot of hard work in this season," Blackwell said after his pin of Patterson's Francisco Placencia. "And last year I didn't make it this far, so it's good to come through as champion."

Second-place Central Catholic, which had eight wrestlers last year, advanced nine to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 meet, which is today and Saturday back at LBHS. Roman Dias (128 pounds), Joey Abbate (140) and Ray Lomas (162) won individual titles for the Raiders.

"Our league's pretty good," said Lomas, a returning state placer who once again has high hopes this postseason. "I know it'll be hard going down that road. It gets harder every week."

Abbate, who earlier this year accidentally dislocated Joey Abbate's elbow during a dual meet against Pacheco, provided the scariest moment of the match when he knocked out LB's Gabe Mendoza in the 140-pound title match. Mendoza was unresponsive for several long moments before getting to his feet to shake Abbate's hand.

"It was either on the takedown, or the hold was tight," Adams said. "He's all right. We'll get him checked out just to make sure. I think he was just kind of shell shocked and embarrassed."

Pacheco senior Robert Burkart defeated Central Catholic's Miguel Hernandez 4-3 to win Pacheco's first-ever individual league wrestling title, despite a chorus of calls from coaches pleading for a stalling penalty.

"It is what it is," Burkart said. "I don't know if I was stalling or not, but I feel like I was working."

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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