Panthers Win 2015 Wrestling State Championship
The SCC Panther wrestling team entered the State Championship as a slight underdog behind yearly power, Fresno City College and last year's state champion, Cerritos College. When the dust cleared, the Panthers, with 11 Medalists and 7 All Americans came out with the Championship. Sac City scored points from all 12 weights to make this truly a team Championship. SCC ended up with 158 points to Fresno's 137. Cerritos was a distant 3rd place with 116 points
The tournament is four sessions long over two days. The Panthers came out pounding in session 1 as Christian Carbajal scored a pin to earn 3 points for the team totals. He was followed by five teammates who also won to lead the SCC charge and a 6-0 record heading into the evening session. SCC trailed Palomar College by half a point after the session ended but had all 12 wrestlers in the quarter finals as the other 6 had byes.
In session 2, SCC got off to a slow start losing their first 4 matches. Kaleio Romero (157) got the first win of the round with a 10-0 major decision over Cuesta College. The Panthers had two wrestlers coming up in both the 165 and 174 pound weight classes. Derek Lee Loy was the first up at 165. He fell behind early to returning 3rd in State Eric Roberts of Santa Ana by as many as 5 points, but he kept charging back and scored a takedown with time running out to tie the score. He scored another takedown in sudden victory to win the match and get to the semis. Dylan Forzani followed that with a 5-2 win over De La Tore of Palomar. Not to be outdone, both 174 pounders won. Isaiah Smith defeated South #1, Lukas Basham of West Hills by an 8-7 score. Trevor Wrightfollowed that with a pin of Alex Galo of Palomar. This put the Panther win streak at 5 with 3 more coming up.
Next up was Nick Rohrer at 184 pounds. He made quick work of Bill Robinson from Shasta College getting a fall in 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Jason Zecchinidid not want to get outdone and scored a fall of his own against Josh Esconbedo of East Los Angeles. With the win streak now at 7 in a row, D'Juan Ewing-Smalls stepped on the mat at 285 pound weight class. He was meeting with returning 4th in state, Andrew Cruz of Mt. San Antonio College. Both wrestlers wrestled cautiously through 3 periods and it ended up 1-1 in regulation. After two overtime periods, the score was still tied. In the third overtime, Smalls hit an inside out trip for a takedown and the win thus putting 8 Panther wrestlers into the semi-finals.
The four that lost had to wrestle one more time in the 2nd session. It looked good at the start as Carbajal got off to a 4-1 lead, but then got caught on his back and pinned. Pilgrim, Jimenez and Vaughan then followed with 3 consecutive falls to close out the day for SCC. This put all of them into the second day of the tournament and now 11 of the 12 were at the very least, All-State. The Panthers also took over the lead 96 to 73 over Fresno City College.
Day two started with the Panthers destiny in their own hands. SCC won 3 of the 4 consolation matches to move three more SCC wrestlers into the top 6 in state. The lone loss was Vaughan who lost a tough 3-2 match to Cerritos. Jimenez scored another fall to move forward and Pilgrim scored a 2-0 win over nemesis Seth Hood of Fresno.
In the semi-final matches, things did not go as well as hoped. #1 ranked Kaleio Romero lost his first match of the year against JC opponents to start the session. It was a tough 4-2 loss in which he was taken down in the last seconds of regulation. At 165, things went better. Forzani won a major decision and Lee Loy won an 11-8 match. 174 saw SCC split their semi matches. Trevor Wright got a major decision to reach the finals while Isaiah Smith, who had injured his foot in the last win, lost a major decision. SCC proceeded to lose at 184, by fall; 197 by a 3-2 squeeker and at 285 by a decision. All four of the last losses were to the eventual State Champion.
The Panthers still held the lead on the team scores, but it was closer than previously. In the consolations, more work needed to be done. In the consolation semi matches, both Pilgrim and Jimenez lost close decisions. Romero got back on track with a fall. Smith lost a tough one on his injured foot. Rohrer pulled off another Panther come from behind match by tying it up in the closing seconds and winning in OT. Zecchini won by fall and Ewing-Smalls won by injury default.
In the place matches it went like this:
133 – Pilgrim wins 5-4 to finish in 5th place
141 – Jimenez lost 7-5 in OT to finish in 6th place
149 – Vaughan won 9-6 to finish in 7th place
157 – Kaleio Romreo won 10-6 to finish in 3rd place
174 – Isaiah Smith won 7-6 to finish in 5th place. We found out Sunday he wrestled his last three matches with a broken foot. Talk about toughness and being a team leader!!
184– Rohrer won by fall in 4:15 to finish in 3rd place
197 – Zecchini lost on a last second takedown, 4-3 to finish in 4th place
285 – Ewin-Small lost by injury default to finish in 4th place.
After the third session, the Panthers led 154 to 129 for Fresno. This meant that going into the finals, the Panthers had clinched the State Championship.
In the finals at 165, Lee Loy drew first blood against Forzani with a takedown, but Forzani stormed back to win 22-4. In the 174 final, Trevor Wright lost to defending state champion,Mo Naser. Even though Wright controlled the whole third period, he had let the gap get too big to catch up and finished in 2ndplace. But the SCC team earned the Championship as a team, as a family.
Coach David Pacheco received the award for Coach of the Year and Coach Walter Ulrich received the Assistant Coach of the Year award. We both look as these awards as being team awards. No one person gets credit for a team achievement. We are very proud of this group of young men. We had 1 Champion, 3 finalists, 7 All Americans and 11 State Medalists. The All American Total and Medalist Total tie a team record. The 11 Medalists ties a State Record set in 2013 by our State Championship team then.
You can get more information on the event at these sites, including brackets and place winners.