Depth is the key for the Tokay High girls wrestling team this season.
Five Tigers did not participate at the fourth annual Lady Tiger Invitational at The Jungle on Saturday. But that didn’t stop Tokay from taking third place out of 52 schools with 122 points.
“This year we had more teams that showed up, but a few less wrestlers,” said Tokay coach George Bozovich of the tournament. “We made some adjustments of how we ran the tournament. It turned out to be a good day.”
Liberty of Brentwood took first place with 146 points, followed by James Logan of Union City at second with 132 points. Lodi, which had one wrestler place, took 14th place. McNair was 10th place with 64 points and Bear Creek 16th at 43.
The Tigers’ Cassidy Curtiss (heavyweight division) and Lexy Beadles (118-pound division) competed in the finals of their respective weight classes. Curtiss, who won her first two matches by pins, faced Casa Grande’s Lilly McCoy in the title match. In the second round, McCoy locked up Curtiss’ shoulders near the scorekeeper’s table to record a win by pin for the title.
Bozovich was pleased with Curtiss’ performance on Saturday and progress since the start of the season. Curtiss, a sophomore, suffered torn ligaments in her foot after the end of last season. The invitational was only her second one competing this winter.
“She’s grown a lot,” said Bozovich of Curtiss. “We were expecting to see what she can do after working all summer long. I think she’s ready for a very good season.”
Beadles, also a sophomore, had a first round by before posting an 11-8 decision over McNair’s Katelyn Lo. Then Beadles recorded back-to-back pins over Nework Memorial’s Christina Craig and Escalon’s Mikayla Vega to advance to the championship bout. Facing Orland’s Jessica Soto, Beadles saw her win streak come to an end as Soto won by decision. Bealdes went 3-1.
Tokay’s Christina Torres (133) took fifth place in her weight class. After pinning Livingston’s Jessica Bepple, Torres fell to Celina Cooke of Reed-Reno, Nev. Torres rallied with back-to-back pins to place.
“They are both young; they’re both strong,” said Bozovich of Beadles and Torres, both freshmen. “They’re both aggressive. The sky is the limit for both of them.”
Arriana Galvan (172) took sixth place for the Tigers. She won her first match by pin but lose by pin to drop into the loser’s bracket. Like Torres and Beadles, Galvan responded with a win by decision. In the fifth place match, Sierra of Manteca’s Citlali Chavez pinned Galvan.
“She’s been coming around, too,” said Bozovich of Galvan, who is also a sophomore.
Tokay was without the services of Yesenia Ruiz, Samira Mason, Hailey Beadles, Gabrielle Medeiros and Itzel Gonzalez. According to Bozovich, a combination of injuries, dropping weight and rest are the reasons they sat out Saturday’s invitational. The Tigers’ goal is to win another Sac-Joaquin Section Masters’ team tournament title, and advance wrestlers into the CIF Girls Wrestling State Championships that will be held at Rabobank Arena, Theater and Convention Center in Bakersfield on Feb. 21-23.
“A lot of them are beat up,” Bozovich said. “We wanted to give them some time off. We’re also dealing with their weights; we don’t want them to come down too fast or too hard. Toward the end of the season, you have to really watch them, try to get them to compete, stay healthy. I honestly think three, four of them will be state qualifiers, and you might have one or two of them placing. We have some good things going on.”
Lodi’s Raven Edwards (123) took third place with a 4-1 record. Edwards won her first match by pin, then posted a 7-0 decision over Tokay’s Anayeli Ochoa in the second round. After West’s Issa Munoz posted an 8-7 decision over Edwards in the next round, the Flame responded by winning her final match by forfeit.
Another Lodi wrestler in Kaylie Sauerland lost her first match, kept going into the next round thanks to a bye and defeated Eureka’s Zawadi Nganga. Sauerland, a senior, pinned Lincoln’s Aneisha Goodlaw in the first round.
The Flames’ Liz Decko (128) posted a 2-2 record in the double-elimination tournament. Pamela Decko (108), plus Lodi teammates Ezzery Shelley (113), Julie Lopez (145) and Anna Rodriguez (133) each went 1-2.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.