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Bulldogs send 12 to Masters

Four champions, seven finalists a record for FHS wrestling team
By: Matt Long
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Folsom High's wrestling team had four champions and seven finalists at the Division I section tournament held Friday and Saturday at Franklin High School in Elk Grove. The Bulldogs qualified 12 of 14 wrestlers to the Masters Meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Pacific in Stockton. The top-seven wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state tournament in Bakersfield on Feb. 29-March 1. We wrestled really well, as we qualified 12 wrestlers for the Masters meet, which is the most we've ever had, Folsom coach Mike Collier said. We finished second behind Vacaville and in front of Elk Grove, which is the first time we've finished ahead of them in this tournament so that was nice. Sam Morgan (103), Jake Whatley (119), Justin Bolton (130) and Jordan Hart (140) won their respective weight classes. Morgan is the first Folsom freshman to win a section tournament, according to Collier. It's a pretty big accomplishment for Sam, Collier said. Jake beat Vacaville's Tyler Johnson in the semifinals, who's ranked second in the section, and then won his match in the finals pretty handily. Justin beat Vacaville's Drew Hylton 11-7 in overtime to win the 130-pound weight class. Both wrestlers are two-time state qualifiers. Bolton is currently ranked first in the section, while Hilton is ranked third. Jordan's first match was his toughest, as he beat Vacaville's Aaron Hendricks, 3-2, and then he won by technical fall and then by pin in the final. For Whatley and Bolton, it was their second consecutive section titles. Collier said they're the school's first two-time divisional champs and Whatley has a chance to be a three-time champ next year as a senior. Jake wrestled a smart match and was aggressive against Tyler Johnson, Collier said. He then cruised to a 12-2 decision in the finals over his opponent from Fairfield. Folsom had three wrestlers take second, as Eric Dowd (112), Matt Rucireta (125) and Adam Lymath (152) all lost in the finals. All three lost to opponents who were top-ranked wrestlers in the section and state placers last year, Collier said. Even though they didn't win, they put themselves in great position for next week by finishing high at the divisional. Ben Langill placed fifth at 135 pounds, while Patrick Muir finished sixth at 215. Both lost early and had to win their first matches of the day on Saturday to make the top-six and did so. Langill got a takedown in the last five seconds to qualify, while Muir pinned his opponent. Joining Muir as a Masters qualifier in their first-year of wrestling included Victor Muir, who placed sixth at 189 pounds. Lawrence Ryans-McGhee, Folsom's heavyweight wrestler and another first-year guy, also placed, finishing fourth, and advances. Qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Masters in your first year is pretty impressive, Collier said. They have come a long way from the beginning of the year. Anyway you look at it, it was a successful week for the Bulldogs. We want to win every match, but we honestly did about as well as we could have, Collier said. It's all about peaking at the right time of year, and it looks like we're starting to do that. Hopefully, the best is still to come.