High school wrestling: Tokay pins down perfect TCAL dual record with win over Lodi

Jan. 24—The Lodi and Tokay wrestling teams finished off the regular season with a dual match against each other on Wednesday, with Tokay coming out on top in both the varsity girls and varsity boys matches.

In the boys match, the Tigers held a 26-15 lead, still within reach of a Lodi comeback, before winning the last five matches for a 50-16 victory. Every match from the 165-pound division and up went to Tokay.

"Our heavies, they came through for us again," said Tokay coach Logan Lazaro. "It's good that we can rely on some of our seniors in the lineup, because if we couldn't do that we might be in trouble. I'm really glad that they wrestled hard, they come to practice all the time, they drill hard, so they deserve this win. The whole team."

In the girls match, the Tigers dominated for a 60-15 victory.

Tokay's boys finished with a 5-0 record in Tri-City Athletic League duals, earning a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Dual Tournament on Saturday at Lincoln High in Stockton, which Lazaro said has traditionally been a tough competition for Tokay.

"It's an honor, because we have a young following, and they can see what the team section is all about," Lazaro said. "It's a tough tournament, all the top teams of the section are there, and they all want to bring home a section title. And we want to one day compete with them. Maybe it will be this year. We'll see."

Lodi coach Keith Mettler has a similar outlook on the TCAL Tournament, which Lodi hosts on Feb. 3. The Flames have had setbacks this year, between illness and injuries, but will be looking to make some noise.

"I think for the most part, everybody likes to have that ability to be at home when you have a tournament, so we'll see what we can do," Mettler said. "We didn't do very well as far as league's concerned, we went 1-4 in league duals. That's not real stellar. But, maybe we come up and decide to wrestle in the league tournament, and maybe we place top three or so. I don't know. We'll see what happens. You never know what you're gonna get."

Wednesday's match started with a Lodi forfeit at 106 pounds, and then Dominic Ortiz got things started for Tokay with a fast pin of Joseph Silveira at 113 in a match that impressed Lazaro.

At 120, Cristian Morales put together enough points for a technical fall against Lodi's Drew Luiz, putting Tokay up 17-0. But Lodi made things happen, starting with a back-and-forth match at 126 that went to Lodi's Dominic Zazzarino, 18-12 over Josiah Garcia, followed by a Dominic Gauna pin of Tokay's Simon Kolber at 132.

Tokay's Brevyn Bailey scored a second-period pin against Ethan Wise at 138, and Tokay's Jason Ramos beat Joaquin Yepez 9-7 in overtime at 145. Yepez and Gauna were two Lodi wrestlers that stood out to Mettler. With a few wrestlers out for Lodi, the pair were late additions to the varsity lineup.

"Yepez is a freshman, and Gauna's a sophomore, and they just got thrust into a varsity position here today, so they both did very well I thought," Mettler said. "Gauna came back and got a pin, and Yepez, he wrestled his guy very tough and almost got a win out of that."

Lodi gutted out two more victories at 150 and 157, with Colin Grant beating Michael Navas 5-1 at 150, and Grant Shipley scoring a takedown with 50 seconds remaining to beat Joey Torres 6-5. Like Yepez, Torres impressed his coach by wrestling well despite ultimately losing.

"Even though he lost the match, Joey Torres really surprised me on how he wrestled, because that's one of their senior veteran wrestlers," Lazaro said. "I'm not used to seeing him shoot and get the takedowns that he got, so I'm proud of him for starting to pick it up."

Shipley'ss win closed the gap to 26-15, two pins away from taking the lead, but Tokay won the rest — Shane Sanchez pinned Victor Hernandez at 165, Jason Quinones defeated John Cloyne 7-4 at 175, Vince Marin pinned Brody Silveira at 190, Jason Evans held off Tony Ortiz 2-1 at 215, and Aiden Sweetman pinned Zach Kessler at heavyweight.

At 215, Evans scored his two points in the first period, then avoided points against him the rest of the match, apart from a penalty point in the third period.

"Those (types of matches) are whether you go to state or not," Lazaro said. "So keeping a lead, protecting your lead, and making sure you're not giving up a bunch of those points, those are the types of matches that you're going to find going further into the postseason, so it's good to practice like this here. We teach that, too. That was a tough match for him."

In the girls match, a number of forfeits meant five matches took place. At 110, Tokay's Shantel Ambriz pinned Emily Peters, at 120 Lodi's Jocelyn Shelley pinned Jayda Perez, at 125 Tokay's Olivia Hunt pinned Sarah Carpenter, at 130 Lodi's Jayda Vansteenberge pinned Skyla Rivera, and at 135 Lodi's Azaria Biegler defeated Kelly Meehan 8-4.