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Rucireta wins three matches at state tourney

By: Matt Long
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Six Folsom High wrestlers competed at the state tournament last week, but none came home with medals. Senior Matt Rucireta turned in the best performance in his last high school competition, winning three matches and coming within two wins of placing in the top-eight and earning a medal. I'm more than happy with how I did, Rucireta said. I wanted to win at least two matches and anything on top of that was great. I had a great season. Rucireta, competing in the 125-pound weight class, opened the tournament with a 5-3 win over Watsonville's Robin Miranda. That win really gave me some confidence, Rucireta said. That proved to me that I belong there. I think I showed that I could have been in the top-eight. Rucireta then stumbled against Healdsburg's Wesley Young, losing 5-0, but he rebounded to win his next match by the same score. He followed that win with another, an 8-2 decision over Magnolia's Rene Ortiz. Rucireta was then eliminated by Vista's Chris Escobar, 3-2. I tried everything I could to take him down, but he didn't come to wrestle, Rucireta said. He came to win by one. I'm proud of the way Matt stepped up these last two weeks, which are the most important of the season, Folsom coach Mike Collier said. He truly did peak at the right time, and I think it was a direct result of him working harder in practice and getting more focused as the season wound down. Fellow senior Justin Bolton joined Rucireta in winning his first match, as Bolton defeated Monte Vista's Shervin Iraniha, 9-6 in the 130-pound weight class. Bolton lost his next two, though, falling to Jose Mendoza of Selma by pin and then to La Costa Canyon's David Wood, 12-6. Justin was able to close out his career by becoming Folsom's first three-time state qualifier in more than 10 years, Collier said. He finished as a two-time Division I section champion, two-time Delta River League champion and four-time Sac-Joaquin Section Masters qualifier. Folsom's underclassmen competing in the state tournament included Eric Dowd (112), Jake Whatley (119), Jordan Hart (140) and Adam Lymath (152). Whatley, Hart and Lymath all lost their first and third matches, while winning their second, while Dowd dropped both his matches. Whatley arguably had the toughest draw of any Folsom wrestler, as he faced the eventual champion in his first match, losing to Gilroy's Martin Gonzalez, 14-9. After defeating Jimmy Martinez of Savanna, 9-2, Whatley was eliminated by Windsor's Cody Howe, 7-6. Jake had the toughest opening match of all our wrestlers, and he showed he could go with anyone in the state as he came out and took him down in the first 20 seconds of the match, Collier said. He actually took him down three or four times, but came away with the loss. I think Jake will come back strong next season with a chance of ending up on the podium. Hart lost his first match 12-0, but then pinned his next opponent at the end of the first period. He lost his third match, 6-5, and was eliminated. Jordan showed he can compete with the top wrestlers in the state, as he had a close match last week with the eventual 140-pound champion, Vlad Dombroski of Natomas, and nearly had him pinned, Collier said. Lymath dropped his opening match 10-4, but rebounded to defeat his next opponent, 4-3. He was then eliminated following a 6-3 loss. Both of Adam's losses were fairly close and winnable matches, Collier said. When Adam is the aggressor, he usually ends up ahead, but in both his losses, his opponent attacked more. I think he will be right in the mix for a state medal next year, along with our three other returning qualifiers. Dowd opened his tournament by losing to the eventual fourth-place finisher, Northview's Steven Salinas. He then lost his second match the same way he lost his first, by pin, and was eliminated. Eric had a real tough draw with the Southern Section champion in the first round and then the third-place finisher from the Southern Section in round two, Collier said. Eric finished seventh in the Masters last week, and the opponent he beat (for seventh), Fabian Garcia of Turlock, ended up seventh in the state. That shows that if Eric is wrestling his best, he can be in the hunt for a state medal. He's got two more years to accomplish that task. Middle school results Sutter Middle School placed second in the Sacramento County East Championships held at Del Campo High Feb. 23. Sutter had 12 wrestlers place, which makes them eligible to compete at regionals. James Amort, Andrew Mendiola and Alex Wood all won their weight classes to lead the way, while sixth grader Brett Dudley placed fourth at 70 pounds. Folsom Middle School placed fourth in the regional tournament held Saturday at Elk Grove. Connor Pollack (83) and Tony Hernandez (95) both placed second in their respective weight classes, while Derek Stiles (142) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the finals and also placed second. Dalton Quinn (135) placed third, while Alex Hurliman placed fourth at 168 pounds. Wrestlers who placed at regionals or otherwise qualified during the season will compete in the Tournament of Champions on Saturday at Del Oro High School.