Wagner, Peralta pin to lead Eagles to win over Cosumnes Oaks, 33-31
Vista del Lago’s wrestling team proved a lot of things Wednesday night in a dual match against defending Sierra Valley Conference champion Cosumnes Oaks.
For starters, with the 33-31 win over the Wolfpack, the Eagles put themselves in a great position to win the league title, having already beaten top contender Union Mine. Secondly, having lost four of the first five matches, the Eagles provided a good lesson to everyone about not giving up when the chips are down. Finally, the Eagles proved that wrestling is a team sport and momentum is a real phenomenon.
Senior Christian Peralta was inserted into the lineup at a moment’s notice and earned a huge pin at 160 pounds, the third of five consecutive wins for the Eagles, while teammate Clayton Wagner came up a match-clinching pin at 220 pounds. For Peralta, it was the first varsity win of his career and for Wagner; the win evened the number of matches he’s won this year to the ones he’s lost. Neither Peralta nor Wagner would be considered the top wrestlers on the team, but no one played a bigger role than they did tonight.
Wagner pinned his opponent in 52 seconds into the second period after trailing 2-1 after one period. Wagner used a barbed wire off a crossface cradle to get the pin.
“I was confident going into the match and I knew we needed a win and I was looking for the pin,” Wagner said. “It felt so great to get the win that I almost cried. My season has been going OK, but I think this win is going to get me to step up more.”
Peralta’s pin at 160, which gave the Eagles their first lead, 22-18, was equally as big as Wagner’s. Peralta didn’t wrestle the last two years, but decided to come out this year after having the urge to “take kids out” while he took his junior year off. He wrestled a few varsity matches as a freshman, but won none of them. Tonight was his first varsity victory.
“I didn’t know I was going to wrestle until like a minute before the match,” said Peralta, as Coach Frank Richmond decided to insert Peralta into the lineup and bump Ben Johnson, Jacob Sahagun and Ian Berklacich up a weight class. “I was going for the win and he wasn’t going to pin me. I was going to eat him up.”
Peralta made quick work of his opponent, as he pinned him in 65 seconds using a half-nelson and wrist to put his opponent on his back.
“I’m surprised I pinned him so fast,” said Peralta after the match. “My heart’s still pounding.”
Dalton Boyer got the Eagles off to a good start, winning his bout at 106 pounds, 6-0, but the Eagles dropped matches at 113, 8-2, forfeited 120 pounds, got pinned at 126 and lost a narrow, last-second decision at 138, 8-7.
Even Richmond thought his team’s chances of winning at that point were slim, down 18-3.
“We were underdogs going in to begin with,” Richmond said. “Our 120 didn’t make weight and then we got pinned at 126 and I thought it was over there. Luckily, we decided to bump everyone up and Christian got a big pin and that lit everyone up and we wrestled like animals from then on. Clayton, who’s not typically our best guy, got a big pin to seal the match.”
Michael Gary began the comeback for the Eagles, earning an 11-4 win at 138. Evan Shelley followed with a 37-second pin at 145 and Troy Grossi earned a major decision at 152, 15-6, to bring the Eagles to within two points, trailing 18-16.
Following Peralta’s pin, Johnson earned a technical fall at 170, 16-0, before losses at 182 and 195 brought the Wolfpack within three points, 27-24, with two matches to go.
Wagner secured the win with his pin, while the Wolfpack won the final match to close out the match, 33-31.
Things are looking good for the Eagles in the Sierra Valley Conference with Union Mine and Cosumnes Oaks out the way.
“If we stay healthy and don’t lose anyone to grades we should be good,” Richmond said.