Balers fare well at MBL Wrestling Championships

San Benito's Miguel Pulga, seen here wrestling against Alisal on Jan. 27, was one of eight Balers who qualified for this weekend's CCS Championships.

If there’s anyone who epitomizes the essence of the San Benito High wrestling team, it’s Michael Camacho.
The sophomore was one of three Haybalers—Eric Loredo and J.J. Melo were the others—who had third-place finishes in Saturday’s Monterey Bay League Championships at Christopher High.
Competing in the third-place match in the 182-pound division against Felipe Vargas of Monterey, Camacho nearly got pinned in the first 30 seconds of action before escaping and eventually pulling away for an 11-5 decision victory.
Balers coach Brian DeCarli said it’s moments like those that test a wrester’s ability to deal with adversity.
“We had some tough losses (in the winners’ bracket semifinals), but our guys battled back strong,” DeCarli said. “The best thing about Michael is he really doesn’t want to lose. It eats him up inside to lose. He’s such a great competitor in that he’s willing to fight for everything, even when things aren’t going his way.”
Things certainly weren’t going Camacho’s way in his match against Vargas, who led 5-1 before Camacho reeled off 10 consecutive points to win going away.
“It’s a sense of relief because I almost got pinned,” Camacho said. “Last year I took sixth place, so this definitely feels a lot better.”
Camacho lost a tough 9-7 decision to Alejandro Mosqueda of Watsonville in the semifinals. That was the theme of the day for the Balers, as Loredo and Melo also fell in their semifinals.
“It’s disappointing when you don’t put anyone on top of the podium, so it’s a good thing we have another crack to win at CCS,” DeCarli said. “It’s always tough to be one match away from getting to the finals. But the biggest thing in a league tournament is to qualify as many guys as you can to CCS and get out healthy.”
San Benito managed to come away unscathed, and in addition to the aforementioned third-place finishers, it qualified five other wrestlers to this weekend’s CCS Championships: Ishmael Medina, who took fourth in the 138-pound weight class; Miguel Puga, who took fifth in 195; Sal Lopez, who took sixth in 170; Christian Aguilar, who took fifth in 113; and Adrian Valdez, who took sixth in 120.
After getting pinned in the semifinals, Melo rebounded nicely with a workmanlike performance in the third-place match, pinning Braulio Elias of North Salinas at the 4:55 mark. Melo was leading 7-0 before pinning Elias.
Using his superior agility, quickness and strength, Melo recorded an escape, takedown and a couple of near-falls before finishing things off.
“I can see J.J. going into CCS and having a great tournament,” DeCarli said.
Loredo also enters CCS with the potential for a top-three finish, which would earn him a berth to the CIF State Championships. The senior entered the MBL Finals as the section’s second-ranked wrestler in the 126-pound division; however, he lost to Palma’s Pacheco in the semis by an 8-2 decision.
Loredo received the No. 4 seed for this weekend’s CCS Championships, behind a loaded field that includes top-seed Jesse Vasquez of Gilroy, No. 2 Gio Zacarias of Aptos and Pacheco at No. 3.
“I feel Eric will be there at the end,” DeCarli said.
Camacho could be there as well.
“I need to improve my standup and learn how to take shots better,” Camacho said. “If I can do those things, I think I’ll wrestle well at CCS.”

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