The Rancho Cotate Cougars came out on top over the Piner Prospectors, 42-24, at the season’s last wrestling meet Jan. 30 in Rohnert Park.
Only four official bouts took place that night. The rest of them ended in forfeit, as one team or the other lacked a competitor at specific weight classes. By far the Cougars fielded the wider roster and therefore benefited the most. A sudden rash of points from forfeit inflates the score and hides that overall count of bouts where the teams actually contested ended evenly.
Unfortunately, according to Cougar coach, Anthony Navarro, decision by forfeit is all too common.
“I would love to have a full bench of fourteen wrestlers on fourteen wrestlers, but right now with the state of Rancho wrestling we’re rebuilding and trying to fill our team. I start off with twenty kids and then they slowly drop off.”
First to square up was Cougars’ Lucas Anderson against the Prospectors’ Ryan Ball. Both were lanky kids with weights in the low 120-pound range.
Nevertheless, they went at each other with enthusiasm. Ball grabbed Anderson’s leg and threw him off balance. Anderson stumbled and landed face down on the mat, with Ball grappling him from behind. The two tangled on the mat for a few more minutes, but Anderson could never really shake free.
Ball forced the pin a couple of seconds later.
Next the Cougars put forth Antonio Marilla to go against the Prospectors’ Dyan Mey, both weighing in at 134 pounds.
Their bout went for a full four rounds. The first ended in a timeout and a tangle of limbs on the mat, the second with Mey in a defensive ball and the third with Marilla on the defensive. Neither wrestler could clinch the match.
In the final round the pair climbed to their feet and circled each other. Mey grappled Marilla around the middle. He threw him. Marilla flipped midair and recovered, landing back on his feet. Marilla seized Mey around the middle and wrestled him to the mat for a pin and Rancho’s first win of the night.
“You have to have a passion to wrestle. I would say it’s the hardest sport to participate in. It’s six minutes of a full body workout that’s just nonstop,” Navarro said. “All the kids here have some passion for the sport. They have to enjoy it to be out here.”
The third match ended almost as soon as it began. The Cougars’ Orion Piombo pinned the Prospectors’ Carter Erickson in fifteen seconds.
Finally, the Cougars’ Efren de la Torre went against the Prospector’s Alan Nguyen at the night’s highest weight class of 222 pounds.
Nguyen is a bigger kid with more than his fair share of muscle. He used it all when he threw Torre onto his back after the match started. Torre climbed to his feet and struggled to put distance between them, but Nguyen charged. Seeing that his strategy wasn’t working, Torre speared Nguyen mid charge.
The collision brought the two to the mat. They struggled for about a minute more but Nguyen’s greater strength eventually secured the pin.
“I’m an old fashioned guy—it’s how America was made. Everyone stepped out of the box and said to themselves, ‘how can we make this a better place?’” Prospectors’ coach, Ed Weber, said. “How are we going to make this a better team? Well, we’ve got to stop out of our box.
The Cougars’ win over the Prospectors takes them next to the North Bay League Championship Feb. 8. It’s a two day tournament in Ukiah.