Jesse Vasquez said he’s gotten over the “freshman hump” in his wrestling career.
Gilroy High’s sophomore 115-pounder showed Saturday he should be a force to reckon with in the Central Coast Section and likely the state for years to come.
Vasquez claimed an 8-2 decision over Turlock’s Jason Valdovinos in the 115-pound final of Mid-Cals, becoming one of three Gilroy wrestlers who won individual titles at their own tournament in Bob Hagen Gym. Vasquez was rewarded for his dominance by being named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler among lowerweights.
“It feels great,” Vasquez said. “I worked hard. I did a lot to get here, and it feels good.
“I just got over that freshman hump that a lot of people go through. I go into the wrestling room and work hard and train as hard as I can. I want to be the best, and I want to win.”
Vasquez did just that with a title on the line Saturday, taking a 5-0 lead through two periods and staying in control throughout.
“I’m ecstatic for him,” Gilroy coach Greg Varela said. “He’s wrestling with confidence.”
Turlock won the team title with 310.5 points, topping second-place Paso Robles by one point. Gilroy and Palma tied for third with 238.5 points.
Gilroy also got individual titles from Victor Olmos (128) and Nikko Villarreal (147).
Olmos won his finals match against Turlock’s Rafael Hererra by pin in the first period, putting an exclamation point on a tournament in which he won four matches by fall.
Villarreal ran his record to 32-2 with a 19-7 major decision over Hughson’s Andrew Patrick in the 147-pound final. Villarreal, a junior, scored two consecutive 2-point takedowns in the first period to take control early.
Gilroy’s Paul Fox (140) also reached the finals, where he lost a 9-5 decision to Archbishop Riordan’s Elijah Davis.
“I’m happy with where we’re at right now,” Varela said. “We’re a little banged up. We’re kind of getting over the middle of the season; we’ve got some injuries here and there.”
Outstanding Wrestler honors went to Vasquez among lowerweights, Davis among middleweights and undefeated Palma heavyweight Hildelv Manzur among upperweights.
For Gilroy, Matt Penyacsek (162) took third, Javin Aragon (147) was sixth, Victor Daza (122) claimed seventh and Daniel Patterson (222) finished eighth.
Christopher junior Jimmie Lopez claimed the 108-pound title with a 10-2 major decision over Paso Robles’ Kameron Morones in the finals.
“It feels great,” said Lopez, who improved to 17-5. “This is my first time winning Mid-Cals, so it feels great.
“My opponents, they did well out there, too. They were pretty tough; there were a lot of dogfights in my bracket.”
For Christopher, Tomas Zamora (197) took fourth, and Ricardo Bribiescas (147) was fifth.
The Cougars finished 13th out of 75 teams in the tournament.