Tokay wrestlers in the TCAL driver's seat after sweep over Lincoln

Jan. 17—The Tokay High wrestling program scored an important sweep over Lincoln on Wednesday, winning their Tri-City Athletic League dual in all facets.

The Tigers' varsity boys team eked out a 37-34 victory, with early victories carrying against a Lincoln team that held the advantage in the heavier weights, while the varsity girls team overcame an early deficit by dominating the later matches for a 54-30 victory.

The boys victory left Tokay with a 4-0 record in TCAL duals with one more next week against Lodi, putting the Tigers in the driver's seat for a league championship.

"It should, but we still have to wrestle the league tournament, and that's the other 50% of the points," said Tokay boys coach Logan Lazaro. "So if we finish second at league, then we'll still be league champion. With the teams, it gets a little weird over there. We could possibly lose it still, but I'm pretty confident that we should take it this year."

The evening started with a 60-18 Tokay victory in the junior varsity boys dual, and then the varsity girls went to work.

The teams traded matches to start, with Lincoln's Alexis Toscano pinning Tokay's Olivia Martin in the 102-pound match, while Tokay's Shantel Ambriz scored a quick pin over Lincoln's Janelle Juntilla at 107.

Then Lincoln built a large lead with a forfeit and two pins — Gabriela Stalling over Leena Awan at 117 and Emily Marlowe over Jayda Perez at 122 — to build a 24-6 lead.

Tokay dominated the rest of the way, with Lincoln's only remaining points coming from a forfeit at 192. Tokay scored four pins and two forfeit wins to build 54 points.

At 127 pounds, Tokay's Olivia Hunt needed less than a minute to pin Lincoln's Cartly Bonner; at 132, Skyla Rivera scored another first-round pin of Payton Silva,; at 142, Kelly Meehan scored a second-round pin over Alaina Copper; and at 172, Maliah Gomez took down Brooklyn Allen in the first round.

The boys dual started with a pair of Tokay victories — Jonah Rosa pinned Lincoln's Josiah Hargrove in the second period at 106 pounds, and at 113 Davyd Cera scored an intense 6-5 victory over Lincoln's Darien Respicio, with the difference coming to mere seconds in the third period. Respicio, trailing 6-3, started the period on top and pushed Cera toward his back, but Cera fought back to keep Respicio to a 2-point near-fall, which is awarded when the wrestler's back is turned more than 45 degrees toward the mat for three seconds. Five seconds would have resulted in a 3-point near-fall and a tied match.

Lincoln scored its first win at 120 when Drake Rivera beat Cristian Morales 10-5, and Tokay scored another gutsy win at 126 when Josiah Garcia, a sophomore, bounced back from a 6-2 deficit to score 9 points in the third period for an 11-6 victory.

"We have a lot of morning practices, and that's when we work on situations just for that, where we're down, and we need to run their gas tank out to score points," Lazaro said. "So that was a really good victory for us. Conditioning, and capitalizing on the position."

A pin by Lincoln's Ryan Lew over Alejandro Osorio at 132 closed the gap, but Tokay responded with a 14-7 decision from Brevyn Bailey over Tyler Despain at 138. At 144, Tokay's Jason Ramos scored a last-second pin over Luca Casillas for an extra point — the match would have ended in a technical fall for five points had he not.

The next two weight classes traded — Tokay's Michael Navas pinned Ricardo Gonzales at 150, and Lincoln's Lorenzo Cruz pinned Joey Torres at 157.

Then came the two victories that put Tokay over the top, when Shane Sanchez pinned Matthew Price in the second period at 165, and Jason Quinones won 10-0 for a 4-point major victory over Anthony Andrew at 175. Tokay wouldn't win another match, but the 37-15 lead was just enough. With the distraction of senior night ceremonies before the match and the extra crowd on hand, Lazaro was pleased with the win.

"I think we won some matches where I didn't think we were going to win, but I think the boys showed up when it was going to be a tough dual," Lazaro said. "They didn't let their family or the audience get to them, they just focused on their match."

The night ended with three Lincoln pins — Isaac Rosas over Vince Marin at 190, Jacob Malera over Jason Evans at 215 and Angel Flores over Aiden Sweetman at heavyweight. Lazaro said his three heaviest wrestlers, normally known around the team as Death Row because they can be counted on, all wrestled up a weight class, so they knew it would be a tough task.

"But that's no excuse, we've won matches like that before," he said with a laugh.