Pollock places sixth at state wrestling tournament

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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The third time was the charm for Connor Pollock. The Folsom High senior finally placed at the state wrestling tournament in his third trip, earning a sixth-place finish in the 126-pound weight class by winning four of his first five matches before losing his last two. Though he would love to have a couple matches back, Pollock was happy to have earned a medal. “It feels pretty good,” Pollock said. “It took me three years, but I finally got on the podium. I was more relaxed this year just knowing the arena and the level of competition. The longer you stay in the championship bracket it makes it easier to place.” Pollock won four matches and lost three at the tournament, which was held in Bakersfield. He opened with an 11-7 win over Gino Roman of El Dorado and then pinned Bryce Martin of Bakersfield in 3:37. His first loss came to the eventual champion, Anthony Valencia, a freshman from St. John Bosco, who defeated Pollock 13-7. “I was winning the match until the third round when he took me down to my back for a five-point move,” Pollock said. “After that I was down by four and had to play catch-up.” Pollock shook off the disappointment of losing by winning his first two matches on Saturday morning, the first win, which guaranteed him a medal. Facing Nevada Union’s Johnny Callas, who won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters championship a week earlier after defeating Pollock in the semis, Pollock needed no other motivation. “After making weight to start the second day, it’s a whole new mindset,” Pollock said. “If I made weight, there was no way I wasn’t going to make it to the podium. Making weight was the hard part.” Pollock defeated Callas 8-4, a win that guaranteed him a state medal. “It was nice to get that win back because it irritates me that he has my Masters title,” Pollock said. “Winning that match to get a state medal was like taking a big weight off my shoulders.” Pollock then defeated Vicente Hernandez of Clovis, the eventual eighth-place finisher, 10-7, to put himself among the top-six finishers. Next up was Joshua Rodriguez of Righetti, who pinned Pollock in 35 seconds. “I started off with a nice inside trip and put him to his back, but he popped through and stuck me,” Pollock said. In the final match for fifth place, Pollock dropped a tough 1-0 decision to Jake Smith of Newark Memorial. Smith earned the only point on a third-period escape. “He was a state champ in Virginia and moved here,” Pollock said. “He didn’t do much on his feet except tie-up and circle and I was frustrated because I couldn’t get my offense going.” Pollock is Folsom’s sixth state placerwinner and the fourth in the last seven years following Todd Wilcox (2006), Cody Wilcox (2007) and Jordan Hart (2009), who all finished fifth. “Connor has been to the state meet three times, which is a great accomplishment, but I think he would have felt his career was incomplete if he didn’t place,” Folsom coach Mike Collier said. “He rose to the occasion and he can always look back and say he placed in California which is incredible.” Folsom sophomore Nick Fiegener had a good tournament for a first-timer, coming within one win of earning a medal. Fiegener won three of his first four matches before losing a second time. He opened with a 12-5 win over Seth Whisner of Rim of the World before losing to 7-2 to Christian Walthen of Orland. He rebounded with wins over Braden Henderson of Elk Grove, 5-0, and Jeremy Edgel of Vista, 9-1, but then lost to Adam Hendrickson of Healdsburg, the eventual sixth-place finisher, 15-3. Folsom senior Jordan Alleva, competing at 285 pounds started off well, winning his first two bouts by fall, pinning Lemoore’s Johnathan Roa in 1:07 and Downey’s Robert Chism in 4:35. Alleva then lost to the eventual third-place finisher, Nick Nevills of Clovis, 5-0, and then dropped a 5-2 decision to David Trujillo of Villa Park, who went on to place fourth. Another Folsom senior, Isaias Diaz, also went 2-2 during the tournament. Competing at 152 pounds, Diaz lost his first match 6-5 to Jack Fausone of Casa Grande, before beating Jaime Recio of Johansen 10-0 in the consolation bracket. Diaz then pinned Cupertino’s Amir Bakhshi in 1:43 before being eliminated from the tournament following a 9-6 loss to Kyle Perreault of Clovis East. At 195 pounds, Alex Wood, a senior, lost his first match 18-9 to the eventual state champion, Robert Marchese of Oak Hills. Wood pinned his next opponent, Jordan Pyzer of Clovis North, in 38 seconds, before losing to Joe Arellano of Vista Murrieta, 10-3. Folsom High junior Devon Nooner lost both of his matches at 160 pounds by decisions, falling 6-2 to AJ Fierro of Bakersfield and 6-4 to Markus Davis of Golden Valley. “I believe this was the greatest season in the history of our program,” Collier said. “We ended as undefeated league champs, reached the finals of the Division I Section duals for the first time and got our highest finish at Masters (third) and state (19th). Six state qualifiers also tied a team record and we had three wrestlers finish in the top-12 in the state for the first time.”