Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Kaleb Roth works his 182-pound Washington Union opponent into a pin during Thursday’s North Sequoia Duals at Liberty.
In their first matches of the new year, the Liberty Hawks wrestling team picked up a split at a North Sequoia League dual meet at Liberty.
The Hawks edged out the Yosemite-Oakhurst Badgers 39-38 in the first duals Thursday evening. The Washington Union-Easton Panthers edged out the Hawks 47-30 in the second dual meet.
“We’ve been talking about that everyone in the lineup has a role to play and their responsibilities,” head coach Jay Pumarejo said. “I’m very proud that our kids accepted their roles and did the best they could. It’s equivalent to a team holding strong in the red zone and allowing a field goal rather than a touchdown. Our kids are starting to learn that strategy and it’s fun to see it.”
Zach Santoro, at 113 pounds, and Ryan Avila, at 126 pounds picked up two wins in the evening.
“Ryan had been sick all week,” Pumarejo said. “He’s been severely sick. For him to show up today and had the fight he had, I’m very proud of him. I’m very happy with their fight in the Washington Union dual.”
Pumarejo had to juggle his line up and many wrestlers had to wrestle in two weight classes higher because of illness amongst the team. However, Pumarejo was happy with the results Thursday night.
Things weren’t looking bright for the Hawks to open the dual against the Badgers.
Nathan Pearce (152 pounds), Vincente Espinoza (160), David Portnoff (171) and Samuel Rauschenberg (195) were all pinned, resulting in a 24-6 deficit. Liberty picked up its first points on a forfeit victory from Kaleb Roth at 182 pounds.
In the 220 pound match, Angel Lugo battled his opponent for a majority of the second period, finally recording a pin at the second period whistle.
The Hawks received forfeit victories from Francisco Rojas (285) and Cole Diebert (106) to cut into the Yosemite lead.
Santoro had an easy time in the 113 pound match, recording a pin just 23 seconds into the match.
After Anthony Salas received a forfeit win at 120 pounds to tie the score at 30, Avila battled through his 126 pound match. He led 2-0 at the end of the first, but two technical violations tied the score at two. He fell behind 5-4 with 35 seconds left in the match.
However, in a flurry to end the match, Avila recorded an 8-6 victory. After he fell victim to a takedown, he escaped the hold. His opponent gave up a point to a technical violation and then Avila took down his opponent for two more points. His opponent escaped the hold, but Avila held on for the decision.
At 132 pounds, Jarred Dotson had a relative easy time at 132 pounds. He recorded a takedown 15 seconds into the match. He then recorded a three-point near fall 13 seconds later. He added a pair of two-point near falls for a 9-0 lead before finally getting a pin with 14 seconds left in the first period.
With the pin, Dotson gave the Hawks a 39-30 lead. However, a team point was taken away from the Badgers after Dotson’s opponent started to take off his singlet before he left the match, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct violation.
Conner Hiatt lost his match at 138 pounds by a 5-1 decision, but it also helped secure the Hawks’ victory. Because he didn’t get pinned, Liberty led 39-32. The Hawks had a forfeit at 145 pounds, but the Hawks won 39-38.
The Panthers opened their dual with pins at 160 pounds and 171 pounds. Roth stopped the run with a second period pin with 40 seconds left after jumping out to a 5-0 lead.
Rauschenberg was pinned at 195 pound and Lugo lost at 220 pounds and Liberty trailed 21-6.
Rojas received another forfeit win at 284 pounds.
Diebert, at 106 pounds, trailed for the entire match. He was down 8-1 in the second period. However, he got the advantage in the third period and recorded a pin 36 seconds into the period to cut the Panthers’ lead to 21-18.
Salas was pinned at 113 pounds, but Santoro picked up a surprise pin at 120 pounds. He trailed 5-3 after a technical violation, but he tied the score with a near fall at the end of the second period. He fell behind after another technical violation before recording a pin with seven seconds left in the match.
Avila recorded a pin 51 seconds into his second match to give the Hawks a 30-27 lead with four matches left.
Dotson lost by major decision, 15-4 at 132 pounds. Hiatt also lost by major decision, at 138 pounds, for a 35-30 Washington Union lead.
Washington Union received a forfeit at 145 pounds and Pearce lost by a first period pin at 152 pounds in the 47-30 loss.