TURLOCK — Tyler Lawrence did not kick down his front door in disgust or direct a primal scream toward the wrestling gods.
The Escalon High junior responded to a disappointment last weekend by, well, tying on his shoes and going back to work.
Turns out that was the best strategy of all.
Lawrence pinned all three of his opponents for a take-charge title of the 132-pound class at Saturday's ninth annual Rumble in the Jungle at Pitman High.
He walked away with a businessman's gait after pin No. 3, a second-rounder over Storm Peterson of Foothill. Lawrence, one of four Cougars to capture weight-class titles at the Rumble, carries high expectations. He's ranked fourth in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
But last weekend at the Tim Brown Memorial at Sacramento, Lawrence extended Modesto High junior Emilio Saavedra No. 1 in the section and a two-time State Meet medalist to the maximum. He zeroed in on a victory until a costly stalling point and a locked-hands violation in the third round cost him a 3-1 defeat.
"There's no such thing as a good loss," Lawrence maintained. "But it was good to know I was right in there against a guy who medaled at State. I knew I had a shot at him."
Pressure performances are not new to Lawrence. He qualified for State in 2012 but defaulted due to a shoulder injury. Rather than matching up with the best in Bakersfield, he supported his teammates from the stands.
"I wanted to win a few matches (last year) to get my feet wet," he said.
Lawrence spiced a strong showing by Escalon in the Rumble, as the season begins its wind-down toward the important final month. Fourth-ranked Johnathon Costa (170), A.J. Camerena (182) and Jason Robbins (138) all annexed first-place medals.
Seven mats were rolled out for the nearly 400 wrestlers representing 27 schools at Pitman. Sustaining momentum and gaining confidence were the goals.
One who succeeded at both was Hughson's Andrew Patrick. The senior with the sloped shoulders and narrow waist pounded through the 145-pound division with four wins via fall, the last a second-round victory over Joseph Ruelas of Patterson.
It was the fifth tournament win for the sixth-ranked Patrick, who also dominated at Ceres, the Riddle at Oakdale, Modesto Junior College and Grenada (he was a runner-up last weekend at the Mid Cals in Gilroy). His improvement is impressive, given the fact he didn't even take up the sport until he was a freshman.
"I can do the moves, but they have to be crisp and just right," Patrick said.
Golden Valley of Merced parlayed its deep lineup into 236½ points and a victory in the team standings over Escalon with 171. GV featured champions Enkhmandakh Delgermurun (120) and Aaron Ramirez (126).
The host Pride, which placed ninth, was paced by junior Logan Wolfley the son of Pitman coach Chris Wolfley who topped the 152s. Atwater took eighth thanks to champions Kyle Thorpe (160) and Jojo Ochoa (195).
Making a strong impression late in the season is Lathrop's Alex Garcia (23-4), a quick sophomore who majored Criselio Rivera of Golden Valley in the 106-pound final 17-5.
"I began to work harder in the gym this year," Garcia said after his second title. "I want to make it past VOLs (Valley Oak League)."
He's on the right track at the right time.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron on Twitter at modbeesports.For complete results of Saturday's Rumble in the Jungle at Pitman High, see Page C-5.