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Tigers nearly sweep Generals wrestlers

The Wasco High Tigers nearly swept the Shafter Generals on the mat on Thursday night, winning the boys varsity match 68-2 and edging out the Lady Generals in the girls varsity match, 48-32.

The Tigers' boys squad continued their domination of the SSL and being one of the top teams in the county in their division. The Tigers, who qualified 12 wrestlers for the Central Section Masters tourney last year, are well on their way to at least equaling that feat. They are strong at every weight class and don't have any that they are not competitive in, which is great for team matches and also bodes well for the postseason.

On the girls side, the Wasco won the match 48-32, but, to the Lady Generals' credit, the Shafter wrestlers won the majority of the matches that were contested. There were four weight classes where Shafter forfeited and gave Wasco the winning points. This gave the Tigers at least 24 points without having to wrestle. Head Coach Eli Espericueta commented, "Yeah, you know what they will say that they won. But we know what happened and who won the matches."

The contested matches were really tough, with Wasco winning a close one at 117 lbs., with rising star Mikayla Weller of Shafter losing for one of her only losses on the season. The rest of the matches were dominated by the Lady Generals, with major decisions and pins by the majority of the girls, including Olivia Ruelas at 107 lbs., Brandy Ortega at 137 lbs. and Julissa Gonzales, at 147lb.

Gonzalez, who placed seventh at the State Wrestling Tournament last year and is one of the top ranked girls this year, actually wrestles at 132 lbs. But, for this match, Gonzalez went up three weight classes to help out her team and still got a dominating pin in her match.

The Wasco teams also were victorious in the junior varsity matches, with the Tigers winning both matches by at least 20 points.

The Tigers' boys and girls will be gearing up for the upcoming postseason, as will the Shafter Generals teams. The first step for the squads are the Section tournaments, which will be at different sites for the girls and the boys. The Boys Divisional will be held on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10, at Hoover High School in Fresno. The girls tourney is on the same dates but will be held at Golden West High School in Visalia.


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