There was just one freshman wrestler in the 195-pound bracket of last weekend’s Sac-Joaquin Divisional tournament at Franklin High: Davis High’s Ismael Perez.
By the end of the two-day event, the inexperienced Perez, a ninth-grader at Emerson, was still alive, placing eighth out of 16 and qualifying along with three Blue Devil teammates for the SJS Masters meet, which begins Friday at the Stockton Sports Arena in Stockton.
“Good for him, being a first-year guy in a weight class dominated by juniors and seniors,” said DHS coach Ty Brown. “If he can stay around that 195, 184 weight class, he has a chance to be a dominant force for a while.”
Joining Perez next weekend will be seniors Marvin Grant (184 pounds) and Adrian (134) and Elias LoBuono-Gonzalez (124). The Devil trio is making is second straight trip to the Masters.
For Elias LoBuono-Gonzalez, this weekend will mark a chance for him to improve on his performance from last year when he was one win away from qualifying for the state championships.
“I think all three of our seniors have a good chance to get out there and do some things,” Brown said. “Elias has been here before and tasted victory and had that taste of success on his tongue before.”
While the format for the tournament has yet to be finalized, Brown expects just the top six wrestlers from each bracket to advance to the state meet, set for March 7-8 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
“We’re just expecting to go out and compete our butts off,” Brown said. “We’ve just talked about being better every time we step on the mat. We’re going to have to be a little better last week than we were this week.
“Nothing really changes for us. It’s just staying true to what we’ve done, which is wrestling tough and wrestling with great effort.”
Note: At the divisional tournament, Elias LoBuono-Gonzalez finished fourth at his weight class, Grant was fifth and Adrian LoBuono-Gonzalez took seventh.