'Baler wrestler Ryan Cowell takes down Jesse Rogers during their match Wednesday night.

San Benito falls 49-24 to league rival Gilroy, gives up six
Hollister – San Benito had its highlights, but there weren’t enough of them for the Haybalers to upset top-ranked Gilroy in Wednesday’s Tri-County Athletic League wrestling match.

The Mustangs recorded six pins en route to a 49-24 win.

“We did as well as we could,” San Benito coach Matt Olejnik said. “On paper, I was hoping for around a 42-27 or 30 score. Gilroy’s a great team. We knew we’d have our work cut out for us.”

Gilroy, which seems a lock to win its fifth straight TCAL title, knew it would be facing its toughest test of the league season and was happy to pass it.

“Hollister is a really tough team. They really bring it. This is probably the best match of the year,” Gilroy coach Armando Gonzalez said. “Coach Olejnik and I are old friends. We started out as old rivals and now we’ve become old friends. If it wasn’t for Coach Olejnik and his strong program, we wouldn’t be where we are.

“We’re on an upswing and they are building every year. People say Hollister’s on a down year and they’re not. I’m only glad that I won’t be around when little Isaac (Olejnik’s son) is on the mat tearing everybody up.”

The two matches that expected to provide the most excitement lived up to their billing.

San Benito’s Junior Davila and Gilroy’s Rodney Balajadia had a back and forth battle at 114 pounds.

Balajadia opened with a 2-0 lead but a Davila reversal tied it up at the end of the first period. Davila then grabbed a 3-2 before Balajadia took a pair of points back to make it 4-3 entering the final period.

With 45 seconds remaining in the match, Davila scored two points on a reversal and won the match 5-4.

The 160-pound match between the ‘Balers’ Fernando Lucatero and the Mustangs’ Ethan Olge also was an exciting one.

Lucatero started strong and opened a 6-2 lead. Ogle trimmed the deficit to two but Lucatero rebounded and was up 9-4 entering the final period.

Ogle scored two late points to make it 12-9, but Lucatero – the Central Coast Section’s top seed at 160 – held on for the win.

“Being in the match as they were, this gives them a little more confidence that they can compete,” Olejnik said of Balajadia and Ogle, who were going up against higher ranked ‘Baler wrestlers. “Come the league tournament finals, they’re going to go after those guys so we’re going to have to be ready.”

Gonzalez also considered those two matches the highlights of the day for the way his wrestlers battled.

“They both wrestled with no fear and with aggression,” Gonzalez said.

Gilroy’s Hunter Collins, the top ranked 173-pounded in CCS, earned a win over Sam Ramirez when Ramirez was injured when he landed on his neck and the match was called.

While the Mustangs true test will come in the postseason, Collins said earning a win over San Benito is still always a big thing.

“Every high school has their rivalries and we’re always happy to beat our rivals,” Collins said. “As a team, we feel very solid pushing for CCS.”

Other highlights included the state’s No. 1 ranked 103-pound wrestler, Gilroy’s Jesse Delgado, recording a second-round pin over Tim Christensen.

The 132-pound match between Gilroy’s CCS No. 2-ranked Rudy Maldonaldo and San Benito’s Jesus Seguero was a surprisingly close battle, with Seguero staying within two points for most of the match before losing 9-6.

Other Mustangs recording victories were: Martin Gonzalez (121), Nico Naranjo (127), Travis Sakamoto (142), Austin Gubrud (147), Andres Barragan (191) and Jesse Rogers (217).

The other ‘Balers who earned wins were Luis Barocio (137), Josh Ramirez (154) and Buddy Barazza (Heavyweight).

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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