Pollock, Alleva qualify for state tournament

By: Matt Long
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Juniors Connor Pollock and Jordan Alleva will represent Folsom High at the state wrestling championships this weekend in Bakersfield. Pollock placed third in the 119-pound weight class at the Masters Tournament, while Alleva was sixth at 285 pounds. Pollock will be making his second straight trip to the state tournament, while Alleva will be going for the first time. Coming off a long and physically demanding football season, Alleva wasn’t sure if he wanted to go out for the wrestling team. A starting offensive guard for the state championship Folsom High football team, Alleva had to decide what he wanted to do. The wrestling team had already started practice and he was already behind the rest of his teammates. The longer it took him to make a decision, the more he fell behind. “My shoulders and knees were messed up from football season and I didn’t know if I wanted to wrestle,” Alleva said. “Coach convinced me to come out. He’s good at guilt tripping. He’s a good coach, though, and I trusted him so I decided to come out. I’m glad I did.” Folsom High wrestling coach Mike Collier knew he wanted Alleva to wrestle. He knew that Alleva, as a returning Masters qualifier, had the ability to succeed on the mat, not to mention help the team out a long the way. “We had to do all we could to get him out,” Collier said. “I knew he’d have a good year if he came out and plus it would help the team. We persuaded him to come out and obviously he made a good choice. I didn’t predict he’d do this well, but he’s a good athlete.” Alleva opened the Masters tournament by losing to the top-ranked wrestler, Andres Quintero, 9-0, but he rebounded to win five straight matches to qualify for the state tournament. He defeated Brian Tuaua, 5-1 and then pinned Devon Woodall and won by default over Richard Hammer to reach the consolation semifinals. In the match that secured a berth in the state tournament, Alleva defeated Ponderosa’s Riley Nooner, 3-2, in triple overtime. Alleva then dropped a 1-0 decision to Michael Lowman before losing to Kris Merrill, 3-1, to place sixth. “After losing that first match, I was mad and that fired me up,” Alleva said. Alleva, who weighs 245 pounds, is often wrestling opponents who outweigh him by 40 pounds, but he uses his speed, quickness, conditioning and technique to defeat his bigger, slower opponents. “Usually in the second period my bigger opponents start slowing down and that’s where I have an advantage,” Alleva said. Collier added, “Jordan did things the hard way coming through the consolation bracket, but he persevered and showed that it can be done.” Alleva hopes to earn a medal at the state tournament, which would mean he needs to finish in the top-8. Pollock took the less stressful rout to the state tournament, winning his first three matches by pin before losing in the semifinals to Ponderosa’s Alex Greybill, 8-1. He rebounded to win his final two matches, defeating Juan Gudino, 14-5 and Quinn Walker, 8-7, to finish in third place. “I would have rather made it to the finals, but I’m happy with how I did,” Pollock said. “Third place is a decent finish. I was hoping to make it back to state and I did.” Pollock’s match in the semis with Greybill was the fourth time the two had met this season. Pollock had won two of the three matches, including an 11-4 whipping of Greybill in the Delta River League finals, but Greybill pulled this one out. “I gave up an early takedown and mentally I just lost my focus,” Pollock said. “I was glad I was able to rebound and come back and take third.” “Connor’s had a good year, but he’s had to adjust from being dominant as a 103-pounder last year when he was facing a lot of freshmen and sophomores, while this year he’s faced more upperclassmen and hasn’t been as dominant. It was important for him to come back and finish strong, as that will help with his seeding at the state tournament.” Pollock said he’s wrestling better now than he has all season and enters the state tournament confident he can improve on his performance last year when he dropped two of his three matches. “Just the experience of being there last year will help me this year,” Pollock said. “I’m healthy and I’m feeling good. I’ll probably have to take out a big name to achieve my goal of earning a medal.” Collier thinks both his wrestlers have the ability to do well at the state meet. “For Connor just being there and knowing what to expect is to his advantage,” Collier said. “That will make a big difference. This is Jordan’s first time so he’s got nothing to lose. I’d love to have a returning state qualifier on the team next year. That would be huge if they could place this year.” Tony Hernandez (125), Matt Parker (130), Sam Morgan (135), Nick Fiegener (140), Isaias Diaz (152) and Tevenn Lewis (215) each won two matches at Masters, while Ryan Jensen (145), Alex Hurlimann (171) and Alex Wood (189) won one match. Tyler Rios, competing at 119 pounds, lost both of his matches.