By Erick Torres
The Patterson High wrestling team has a full lineup this year as compared to last season, when they were forced to forfeit at several weight classes consistently throughout during dual meets.
One of the benefits of having that full lineup of grapplers is the Tigers have the opportunity to attend a tournament like the one held at Freedom High School in Oakley on Dec. 7.
The tournament was divided into three divisions, with schools from across Northern California in attendance. The tournament was conducted in a dual meet format, meaning the teams would battle against other squads in their respective divisions rather than each grappler wrestling as an individual and vying for the title of their weight class.
Each team must therefore not only be able to fill out an entire lineup, but keep up that representation throughout the entire ordeal that in Patterson’s case spanned five head-to-head matches.
“It was a good feeling to fill our lineup and not have to give up six points for a foreit. Last season we were giving up at least 20 points in forfeits because of all the gaps in our lineup due to not having wrestlers in those weight classes,” head coach Artie Rivera said via email. “This season we have some weight classes with up to three wrestlers in one weight class. It’s a good feeling to have this problem, but what wrestlers to put in is a good problem. We are so excited to see what the season holds for us.”
Patterson participated and won in all five duals against Napa (42-18), Clayton Valley (45-27), Campo Lindo (59-22), Castro Valley (42-37) and Amador Valley (69-6), to rise to the top of their bracket and take first place as a team.
“We were so excited to see all of the team’s hard work put to the test. Some of our matches were just that - a test to see who worked the hardest in the room, and we came out on top, walking away with a first place trophy and two outstanding wrestler medals,” Rivera said via email.
Patterson took a total of 22 boy and girl wrestlers with them to Freedom High last Saturday. Those wrestlers were: Omar Simental, Alec Castorena, Jesse Cota, Xavier Maese, Chase Mirelez, Ben Hernandez, Noah Cruz, AJ Polk, Aaron Botkin, Jalen Ruiz, Kameron Siegfried, Jeremy Hernandez, Caleb Soria, Josue Guzman, Ari Balumbu, Dominic Murray, Ivan Valdespino, Brisa Salas, Jaden Arredondo, Julian Castillo, Miranda Cantu and Kahyla Brambila.
Castorena, Hernandez and Ruiz all recorded pinfall victories last Saturday.
Cota put together one pinfall, one technical fall and two decision victories. Maese had a trio of pinfall wins and one majority decision. Cruz also had a trio of falls.
Polk recorded the second-most pinfalls for Patterson, with four on Saturday.
Outstanding Wrestler awards
Mirelez and Botkin received individual recognition for their efforts by winning the Outstanding Wrestler Award. The award was voted on by other teams in attendance.
“We had two outstanding wrestlers: Chase Mirelez and Aaron Botkin. These two wrestlers are in the room every day, and it showed over the weekend. They are two great young men. We are so happy to have them wrestling for PHS. We are excited to see how far they will go this season,” Rivera said.
Mirelez led the team with five pinfall victories against his competition last Saturday.
Botkin was strong for the Tigers, recording two pinfall wins in the process.