Elk Grove’s wrestling squad has won the last ten conference championships. This year Franklin’s Fred Marks thought he had the squad that would end the Thundering Herd’s choke hold over the Delta Valley Conference.
It didn’t happen Wednesday night. Elk Grove showed why this winter they should be hanging it’s 11th consecutive DVC championship banner in the Cartwright Gym in just a couple more weeks.
The Herd grapplers won 11 of 14 matches, seven by pin, to easily take the dual match over the Wildcats, 56-15.
Marks thought his guys would win five matches. He had pretty much conceded four matches to Elk Grove in his head. Marks thought the other five or so would be toss-ups. He was expecting a tight dual, maybe a win that could be the biggest in Franklin’s ten-year history.
“We have all kind of talent, but talent didn’t show up (Wednesday),” Marks said afterwards.
“We were very, very solid,” Elk Grove coach Pat Coffing described his team’s one-sided win. “We wrestled well and we did the things we’ve been working on.”
The dual started with the 154-pound classification and Elk Grove got on the board immediately as Braden Henderson pinned Nick DiManno in a minute, 59 seconds. Joey Lopez at 160 pounds pinned D.J. Harper right after that and the Herd had a 12-0 team lead right off the bat.
Franklin’s Robbie Nickerson got his team on the scoreboard at 171 pounds when he bloodied the face of Christian Vargas and rode him to a 9-7 decision.
The Wildcats’ top wrestler, Joey Banks, then pinned John Thomas in 1:40 in the 182-pound match to make it a 12-9 match.
Elk Grove’s Scott Votino, a 195-pounder, followed with a pin of Ibrahim Shaikes to extend the lead to 18—9.
Nick Gustin then earned what was Franklin’s final win of the night at 220 pounds by pinning Thomas Aquila in a minute, 59 seconds. The match score at that point was 18-15, Wildcats.
Then in perhaps the most anticipated match of the night, pitting two of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s best heavyweights, Jaharee Taylor pinned Tyler Hecht in 5:24.
“(Jaharee) was able to hold Tyler down for the first time,” Coffing said of the match. “Jaharee wrestled a lot in the off-season and it really shows.”
Taylor has only one loss this season.
The other highly anticipated match of the night didn’t materialize. Elk Grove’s Ethan Larrabee was set to take on Franklin’s Josh Villaflor at 120 pounds, but Villaflor didn’t make weight.
At 126 pounds there was a bit of an upset when Elk Grove’s Carson Sperber decisioned Antonio Jimenez of Franklin, 7-3.
“That was a very good win for Carson,” Coffing said. “That was his best win all year.”
Though the Herd has two more DVC dual meets, one at Grant and the final one on Jan. 30 at home against Monterey Trail, it’s pretty much expected that Elk Grove will hang another conference championship banner just a couple days prior to the Section Team Dual Championship, Feb. 2, at Lincoln High School.
“We’ll re-group and get back at them at the conference meet,” Marks promised.
His guys will wrestled this weekend at Morro Bay in a large tournament. Elk Grove will send most of their top guys to a tournament in Albany tomorrow and through the weekend. The rest of the team will go to a tournament at Sonora High School.
Franklin vs. Elk Grove Dual Wrestling
Individual Match Results
154 Braden Henderson (EG) pinned Nick DiManno (F) 1:59 6-0
160 Joey Lopez (EG) pinned D. J. Harper (F) 5:00 12-0
171 Robbie Nickerson (F) dec. Christian Vargas (EG) 9-7 12-3
182 Joey Banks (F) pinned John Thomas (EG) 1:40 12-9
195 Scott Votino (EG) pinned Ibrahim Shaikes (F) 1:30 18-9
220 Nick Gustin (F) pinned Thomas Aquila (EG) 1:59 18-15
285 Jaharee Taylor (EG) pinned Tyler Hecht (F) 5:24 24-15
108 Chris Ennis (EG) pinned Santo Domingo (F) 1:27 30-15
113 Tristan Scott (EG) pinned G’Angelo Rodriguez (F) 1:54 36-15
120 Ethan Larrabee (EG) pinned Sebastian Flores (F) 1:20 42-15
126 Carson Sperber (EG) dec. Antonio Jimenez (F), 7-3 45-15
132 Jason Garcia (EG) dec. Ali Khan (F), 8-7 48-15
140 Davis Hallberg (EG) tech. fall over Adam Borges (F) 53-15
145 Caleb Vetterli (EG) dec. Arman Haq (F), 5-0 56-15