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Bulldog wrestlers reach finals but fall to Vacaville

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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The postseason is here.

For the second straight year, Folsom High’s wrestling team reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I wrestling championships and for the second straight year, Vacaville came away with a convincing victory.

Last year the Bulldogs reached the finals for the first time in school history by beating Elk Grove in the semifinals and they repeated that feat this year. After a 56-12 win over Gregori in which Folsom won 11 of the 14 matches, the Bulldogs squared off with the Thundering Herd in the semis.

Folsom came way with a 34-26 win, but they had to come from behind to do it as Elk Grove won the first four matches to stake a 14-0 lead. Mason Koshiyama picked up Folsom’s first win at 138 pounds with a four-point major decision and teammate Lorenzo De La Riva followed with a pin at 145 to bring Folsom to within four at 14-10.

At 152 pounds, upset-minded Connor Watson led Braden Henderson, a state qualifier last year, in the third period before Henderson came back to win 11-9 and increase the Elk Grove lead to 17-10, before Folsom gained control of the match.

Cooper Fields picked up the first of three straight wins for the Bulldogs that turned the match in their favor. Elk Grove tried to keep one of their better wrestlers, Joey Lopez, away from Folsom’s top gun Nick Fiegener and weren’t able to do it. Elk Grove sent out a back-up at 160, but instead of losing to Fiegener, he lost to Fields, who came through with a big fall.

Fiegener then worked Lopez to his back in the first period for another six points for the Bulldogs, before Devon Nooner, also wrestling up a weight class at 182 pounds, earned a major decision and Folsom led 26-17.

Elk Grove won the 195-pound weight class, but Folsom’s Justin Badger pinned his opponent at 220 pounds in a match Folsom coach Mike Collier called one of the biggest matches of Badger’s career. That win secured the win for the Bulldogs.

In the finals against perennial power Vacaville, winners of 13 of the last 15 team section titles, Folsom hung tough early but didn’t have enough to challenge. While the match was tied at 18-18 after eight matches, Vacaville pulled away to a 54-18 victory with six straight pins.

Koshiyama, Fiegener and Nooner all came away with falls against Vacaville and all three went 3-0 on the day.

Folsom began the week Wednesday with a 58-10 win over Sheldon, which secured the team their sixth Delta River League title in the last seven years. Ten Folsom wrestlers won matches including Carlos Alvarez (106), Curtis Booth (113), Jordan Denny (132), Jason Bergquist (138), Mason Koshiyama (145), Connor Watson (160), Nick Fiegener (170), Devon Nooner (182), Jon Yslas (220) and Robbie Cunha (Hwt.).

Folsom also celebrated senior night and the team’s four seniors were honored. Nooner and Yslas, along with Jerry Garrido (120) and Jason Mica (152) were in the lineup.

The junior varsity also capped of their dual-meet season with a 69-0 win over the Huskies.

Folsom next competes in the Delta River League tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sheldon High.