Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s 171-pounder David Portnoff works his Chowchilla opponent into a pin during Thursday’s North Sequoia League dual meet.
For the past two years, the ever-rebuilding Liberty Hawks wrestling team has been on the receiving end of routs from the Chowchilla wrestling team.
However, that changed when the Hawks only lost four matches and picked up a 45-21 North Sequoia League victory Wednesday on Senior Day.
“It’s so much fun,” head coach Jay Pumarejo said. “I’m having a lot of fun coaching them and see them progress. That’s the best part of my job is to see the kids get better.”
Unfortunately, Liberty’s only senior Kaleb Roth was one of the four losses. The rest of the team picked him up by recording three pins, winning three decisions and receiving three forfeit victories. This came a year after a Chowchilla rout and two years when the Hawks didn’t win a match.
“Momentum, just like any other sport, set the tone for the rest of the dual,” Pumarejo said. “We had some comeback wins. Right off the bat, we gave up one. We had some comeback wins, which reveals how much fighting these kids have been doing in the practice room.”
The Hawks will next get ready for Friday’s North Sequoia League championships at Sierra-Tollhouse.
Chris Imirian recorded a first period pin at 160 points, but allowed an escape for a point. After a scoreless third period, Imirian was docked a point for stalling with 24 seconds left in the match and was called for a technical violation with 17 seconds left and lost 3-2.
At 171 pounds, David Portnoff found himself victim of a reversal just five seconds into the second period. However, he worked his opponent on his back for a reversal and recorded a pin with 1:21 left in the second period.
Roth, at 182 pounds, recorded a takedown with three seconds left in the first period. In the second, he was called for locking hands, gave up an escape and a takedown to trail 4-2. In the third period, Roth fell to a takedown and couldn’t recover in a 6-2 loss.
Samuel Rauschenberg fell victim to a reversal to open the second period of his 192 pound match. He then worked his opponent into a cradle and pinned him with 49 seconds left in the second for the win.
Angel Lugo fell to a quick takedown at 220 pounds, but reversed the hold to tie the score. He allowed an escape, but then took down his opponent and put him on his back for the pin with 39 seconds left in the first for an 18-6 team lead.
Forfeit wins from Francisco Rojas (285), Cole Diebert (106) and Anthony Salas (113) gave the Hawks an insurmountable lead.
Zach Santoro fell behind 4-0 in his 120 match after two periods. He opened the third with a takedown, but fell victim to a reversal. He reversed the hold and got a two-point near fall with 35 seconds left in the match to take a 7-6 lead. He added a three-point near fall at the end of the match for a 10-6 victory and a 39-6 team lead.
Ryan Avila fell victim to a reversal and a three-point near fall in the third period for a 10-3 loss at 126 pounds.
Jarred Dotson and his 132 pound opponent combined for 21 points in a victory. Dotson led 5-2 after a three-point near fall in the first period, but a last-second escape gave him a two-point lead. Dotson fell to a takedown to open the second to tie the score, but a locking hands violation and a technical violation gave Dotson a 7-5 lead heading into the third period.
He recorded two three-point near falls, almost getting the pin, to jump out to a 13-5 lead. He allowed a reversal, but escaped the hold to record a 14-7 victory.
Conner Hiatt got a takedown and a three-point near fall to open his 138 pound match. After his opponent got a reversal to close the first period and an escape to open the second period, Hiatt got a takedown for a 7-3 lead. His opponent reversed the hold for a 7-5 lead.
Hiatt added a two-point near fall to open the third period with a four-point lead. He allowed an escape and a late takedown, but stayed off his back for a 9-8 decision.
Chowchilla received a forfeit at 145 pounds and Nathan Pearce was pinned with 11 seconds left in the first period to conclude the dual meet with a 45-21 Liberty win.