Enochs High senior McCoy Kent uncovered his true feelings Thursday by referring to the Modesto Metro Conference as “we.”
Moments after he nailed down his third consecutive MMC title, Kent – ranked first in the Sac-Joaquin Section and second in the state at 138 – voiced pride in his league as the annual MMC Championships closed.
“They’re all my teammates,” he said. “From here out, we’re all pulling for each other and trying to put the MMC on the map.”
If the conference isn’t exactly a section powerhouse, its cream can’t rise much higher. Unbeaten Modesto junior Israel Saavedra, the two-time state champion and ranked No. 1 at 126, pinned his two opponents in barely two minutes of elapsed time.
For the record, Kent, has lost once thus far – to Saavedra.
“Emilio (last year) and Israel...the Saavedras are always there,” said Kent, who teched Gregori’s Cadence Mitchell 18-2 in the seniors’ first-ever meeting.
MMC coaches decided over a decade ago to run its league meet solely as a divisional qualifier. The championship goes to the dual-meet titleist, which Gregori clinched last week.
“We get only one team to the Team Dual. so it’s easier that way,” Enochs coach Duane Brooks said. “It also creates more drama in our dual meets.”
There was no drama for Saavedra, who remains a virtual whirlwind on the mat. All wrestlers commit to their weight class from the league meet forward, and Saavedra appears comfortable by dropping to 128. He won the prestigious Doc Buchanan in Clovis at 128.
“It’s been harder this year. They (opponents) know who I am and want to be the guy to take me out. I just wrestle my match,” Saavedra said. “I feel way faster than when I was fat.”
Correction: Saavedra never has been overweight in his young life. It just felt that way a few months ago, and it’s all moot as he and everyone else steps deeper into the postseason.
Grace Davis senior Bobby Posadas, ranked sixth in the section at 182, gained momentum by taking home his first league title. He dominated Beyer’s Josiah Coronado 10-2 for a sweet victory after he reached the finals as a freshman and sophomore and injury-defaulted last year.
“I’m glad I’m healthy and not injured,” Posadas said. “I haven’t been 100 percent the last few years.”
Beyer senior Kenny Severe was named the meet’s outstanding upper-weight wrestler, thanks to his win by pin over Davis’ William Davis at 222. Like Posadas, Severe – ranked fifth in the section – appears to be peaking at the right time.
Arguably the day’s most emotional match was the 197 final, where Beyer senior Cristian “Chancho” Maldonado scored a takedown with 15 seconds left and held off Robert Romero of Johansen 7-5. Beyer teammates and fans celebrated for Maldonado, who lost his sister after Christmas.
The Patriots dominated the heavier weights, in fact, as sophomore heavyweight Dominick Perry parlayed two escape points into a 2-0 win over Johansen’s Armando Cervantes. Another Beyer victor was senior Martin Sandoval (154), who annexed his second straight MMC title.
Under-classmen unveiled a promising future. Modesto freshman Ronald Ochoa (125) was voted the outstanding lower-weight star as he coasted to an impressive win. So did Davis sophomore Philip Fuentes at 122 and Enochs sophomore David Castro at 108.
Enochs senior Chase Larson worked until the last second before he pinned Gregori’s Tanner Goudeau in the 172s. Another champion by fall was Gregori’s Mike Villavicencio over Abraham Velasquez of Downey at 147. Also winning were Modesto seniors Andrew Williams, who edged Ethan Villavicencio 4-3 at 134, and Adam Jauregi at 162.
The top four in each weight class advance to the section Division I-A Tournament next Friday and Saturday at McNair, where the elimination process continues. Kent, bound for Northern Illinois after graduation, placed third at both Section Masters and State in 2014. There are no subtleties about his immediate goals.
“Win everything,” he said.
Wrestler of the Week – Modesto High junior Marianne Schauer (20-1, 4-4 vs. boys) pinned all four opponents en route to the 160-pound title at the Sac-Joaquin/Northern Section Championships – the girls’ Masters – last weekend at McNair. Schauer’s semifinal win over Ponderosa’s Jaclyn Fields was satisfying given the fact Fields defeated her in last year’s Masters finals. From there, Schauer won the title by fall over Haley Callaway of Del Oro. The Panther star will make her third straight trip to the CIF Girls Championships. She placed fifth as a Downey freshman and seventh last year for Modesto.
Notes – T-shirt for sale last weekend at the Section Team Duals: “Wrestling” is a strange word, but “assault and battery” are already taken. ... Orestimba junior Molly Wallace earned a berth to the Girls State Championships with her third-place finish last weekend at 143. She also accounted for some school history. She is the first Orestimba wrestler, male or female, to reach State. ... Los Banos senior Tyler Felix closed out the Tigers’ amazing D-4 Team Duals title with a win by pin last weekend, but his mere presence also was a surprise. Coach Matt Vasconcellos confirmed that Felix, a two-time state qualifier, left the team for about two months for what the coach called “a little soul-searching.” Felix is back and he’s still ranked third in the section at 145.