With a perfect league dual record on the line in Tuesday’s cross-town rivalry match against Lodi High, Tokay looked at a 30-27 deficit with four matches left to wrestle.
The Tigers won all four matches for a 48-30 victory at The Jungle, starting with Luke Millan’s third-round pin of the Flames’ Adam Schallberger at 152 pounds.
“We were pumped. It’s an adrenaline rush,” Millan said. “We had something to prove. We wanted the title again.”
The Tigers finished 5-0 in Tri-City Athletic League duals with Tuesday’s victory, which accounts for half of the path to a league title. The other half is the TCAL Tournament, which is Saturday, Feb. 2 at Tracy High. So the Tigers’ work is not finished.
Millan’s victory came in the final period of a tough match, with a first-period takedown and a third-period reverse accounting for the 4-0 Millan lead. Then Millan turned Schallberger onto his back with 45 seconds remaining in the match.
“I just ran, got my cardio up to get into that third round,” Millan said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match, so I got my cardio up so I could be prepared to go those three rounds.”
Then came a win by Tokay’s Moyses Luciano at 160 pounds, with a second-period pin of Lodi’s Christian Zamora to put the Tigers up 39-30.
Another second-period pin by Jacob Pursell at 170 pounds clinched the match for Tokay before Robert De La Torre finished the match with a 5-0 win over Coleman Towler at 182 pounds.
“It’s my senior year, and I wanted to end it on a good note. I was very excited,” Pursell said about clinching the match. “... It’s great just to see my team do so well. We’ve been working hard in that room day in and day out, we’re the ones that have been grinding harder than these teams, and it shows on the mat.”
Tokay coach Ed Carlos said there were times that he felt his wrestlers didn’t live up to their potential, but he’s not blaming them too much.
“I don’t feel we wrestled our best. We really were counting on our tough wrestlers to carry us through,” Carlos said. “I didn’t like that we got pinned in some matches and looked gassed in some situations, but that’s fine. We’ve got to work on that. So big picture, we got the win and now we know what to work on.”
The match went back and forth from the start, with Lodi’s Kyle Sauerland opening with a pin over Tokay’s Cameron Senner at 195 pounds, followed by a Carlos Torres pin for Tokay over Lodi’s Braden Casillas. Lodi went back on top with Sean Carpenter’s pin of Ivan Becerra at heavyweight, and then Tokay shot back into the lead with Lodi forfeits at 106 and 113.
Nick Nguyen’s 30-second pin of Lodi’s Killian Deyarman put Tokay up 24-12, but Lodi started clawing back with Adrien Tenbrink’s third-period pin of Max Hittle at 126. At 132, Lodi’s Lance Elliott needed 29 seconds to pin Quinnlen Braden to tie the match, and Tokay’s Peter Sim beat Hunter Ward 10-3 at 138 to put Tokay back in the lead.
Jacob Lalonde’s first-period pin of Tokay’s Leobardo Garcia at 145 pounds gave the Flames their final lead of the night.
“We’re beat up. We’re extremely young,” Lodi coach Keith Mettler said. “They’ve got nine seniors on their team, I’ve got four I think? I got holes in the lineup, it’s just tough to win dual matches.”
Girls: Tokay 46, Lodi 27
Tokay took a 24-21 lead with a Christina Torres pin at 133 pounds, and the Tigers never looked back in Tuesday’s victory.
The Tigers had pins from Cassidy Curtiss at heavyweight, Gabrielle Medeiros at 103 and Torres, along with a 10-0 major victory from Anahi Ramirez at 162.
The Fla mes had pins from Ezzery Shelley at 113, Leiana Lalonde at 118 and Julie Lopez at 145, with decisions from Pamela Decko at 108, Raven Edwards at 123 and Elizabeth Decko at 128.