Sensational six

Bulldogs send half dozen wrestlers to state tournament
By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Connor Pollock hasn’t had much success at the state wrestling tournament, but he’s hoping the third time is the charm. Pollock placed third in the 126-pound weight class at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Wrestling Tournament held Thursday and Friday in Stockton and will be joined at the state meet by five teammates: Jordan Alleva, Nick Fiegener, Isaias Diaz, Alex Wood and Devon Nooner. The six Folsom High wrestlers are the most the school has ever qualified for the state tournament to be held Friday and Saturday in Bakersfield. Pollock went to the state meet last year at 119 pounds and came away with one win surrounded by a pair of losses. As a sophomore at 103, he again lost his first match by pin, before earning an 18-2 win followed by a default victory. He was then eliminated from the tournament with another pin. “It’s been frustrating,” Pollock said. “I could have done better, but I was cutting weight pretty hard and wasn’t mentally where I should be. I didn’t have the right mindset. I’m in better shape now and peaking at the right time.” At the Masters Tournament, Pollock won his first three matches to reach the semifinals, earning a 26-second pin, a 15-5 major decision and another pin before facing Nevada Union’s Johnny Callas in the semis, where the tables were turned and Pollock found himself pinned late in the second period. Pollock rebounded in the consolations, earning two pins, including a 41-second pin over Vacaville’s Cameron Bailey, to place third. Pollock is Folsom’s second three-time state qualifier in the last four years, joining Justin Bolton who qualified from 2006-2008. Alleva was the team’s highest placer, as he took second in the 285-pound weight class and will be headed to his second straight state tournament. Alleva won his first match easily with a 36-second pin over Oakdale’s Eric Barrigan, but then worked his way through three tough matches, a 7-4 win over Atwater’s Danny Ochoa, a narrow 3-2 victory over Elk Grove’s Jaharee Taylor, and then defeated Ponderosa’s Jeff Camilli, 6-5, in double overtime. In the finals, Alleva lost to Vacaville’s Johnny Schupp, 5-0. Alleva had a tough draw, losing to the champion, while defeating Taylor (seventh), Camilli (fifth) and Ochoa (fourth), as he improved on his sixth-place finish last year. Competing at 145 pounds, Fiegener had a strong performance, losing only to runner-up Sean Tow of Union Mine, 11-4, in the semifinals. After the loss, Fiegener rebounded to convincingly win his last two matches to place third, defeating Escalon’s Jason Robbins, 6-0 and then Vacaville’s Kai Loechler in overtime, 11-9, avenging a loss he suffered to Loechler earlier in the season. “Loechler jumped out to a big lead before Nick stormed back at the end of the match to get back points as time expired to send the bout into overtime,” Collier said. “Nick took down Loechler to complete the comeback, but suffered a broken nose.” Diaz placed fifth at 152 pounds, impressively winning his first three matches with a pair of pins and a 15-0 technical fall before losing to eventual champion and last year’s state champion at 145 pounds, Jake Elliott of Oakmont, in a close match, 5-3. In the consolations, Diaz lost to Lodi’s Jacob Holley, 4-0, before defeating Johansen’s Jaime Recio, 10-2. “Isaias was possibly in the toughest weight class and he showed he was right there with the best,” Collier said. “The fifth-place finish and semifinal battle was nice, but for me the highlight was Isaias’ quarterfinal match which was a 15-0 technical fall over Ceres’ Nick Moran. This win clinched a trip to state. Isaias had tears of joy and was hugging every coach he could find. He had been one match away from state the last two years, so to see him break through in such dominating fashion was such a relief.” Diaz was thrilled to make it to the state tournament. “I was relieved and really happy,” Diaz said. “I’d like to place at state, but I just want to try to enjoy it because it’s my senior year. I want to have fun with it and not put any pressure on myself.” Wood, much like Diaz, had come one win away from placing in the Masters tournament the last two years. This time he was able to break through, winning his first three matches in the 195-pound weight class to reach the semifinals. He pinned his first opponent in the third period and then earned a 5-2 decision to set up a rematch with Lodi’s Daniel Frazier, who had defeated Wood earlier in the season at the Tim Brown Tournament. This time Wood earned the 5-1 victory, a win that guaranteed him a spot in the state tournament. “There was just a lot of excitement and I was relieved that I had done it,” Wood said. “Against Frazier, I wrestled a much smarter match this time around and ended up beating him.” Wood then lost to the eventual champion, Center’s Khymba Johnson, 9-3, before dropping down to the consolation bracket. There he suffered a controversial 4-3 loss to Turlock’s Ernesto Guiang. “I was originally awarded a takedown, but then the assistant referee gave him the takedown and me a reversal that made the score 3-3,” Wood said. “He was then able to get an escape to win the match.” If Wood was bothered by the result of the match, it didn’t show. He won his last match to place fifth with a 20-second pin of Oakdale’s Kyle Cupit. Wood hopes for another good performance at the state meet. “I want to see how far I can get,” Wood said. “I know I’m not the top-ranked guy, but I’d like to upset some guys.” Nooner also placed fifth in the 160-pound weight class, but did so by coming through the consolation bracket. Nooner won his first match, but then lost to Casa Roble’s Blake Matis, 8-2, and then won four straight matches in consolations, starting with a 12-0 win and followed by a second-period pin and then an injury default win to reach the consolation semifinals, where he met Oakdale’s Dustin Harris. “That match was the highlight of my tournament,” Nooner said. “I got a reversal in the last two seconds to win, 4-3. He is clearly the better wrestler, but I kept going and kept fighting and won the match.” Nooner then lost a rematch with Matis, 1-0, and finished his tournament with an 11-2 win over Golden Valley’s Markus Davis. Nooner has high hopes for the state tournament. “I hope to at least win a couple matches and prove that I belong and I’m not there by accident,” Nooner said. Folsom had six other wrestlers compete in the tournament but did not place. Freshman Mason Koshiyama reached the second day of the tournament after winning three of his first four matches at 138 pounds, but lost to Bret Harte’s Giovani Murrillo, 4-2 in overtime, and was eliminated two wins away from qualifying for state. Freshman Carlos Alvarez (106) and senior Tony Hernandez (132) won two of four matches. Senior Alex Hurlimann (182) won his first match, but then lost two straight, while sophomore Trevor Hoffman lost both his matches at 113 pounds. Trever Lewis qualified at 220 pounds, but a knee injury kept him from competing. “We had another outstanding weekend for our program,” Collier said. “We were able to qualify six wrestlers to the state meet and finished third at the Masters, both team records. It was the best team performance we have had and sending almost half of our varsity lineup to state is a great accomplishment. Some teams are happy to get one or two qualifiers, so getting six in the top-five of their weight class was a good for our program. We look ahead to this week and we hope to get more guys on the podium in Bakersfield. We had our highest finish in school history at Masters, and we are hoping for the same this week at the state tournament.”