Throw out the name “Folsom” and no longer will Sacramento-area folks immediately respond, “Prison.”
The most likely retort you’ll hear these days is “State Champions in football.” You might also hear, “Defending Nor-Cal Champs in boys’ basketball.”
But, after Saturday you might hear, “two-time Section team duals champions in wrestling.”
Folsom easily outclassed the Delta League champions, Elk Grove, 37-15, for back-to-back team titles at the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Team Dual event.
The Bulldog grapplers opened defense of its Sac-Joaquin Division I title late Saturday afternoon with the same speed, quickness and aggressiveness the football team showed on the gridiron this season. In its match against Elk Grove, Folsom won the first five individual matches and ran out to a 21-0 team scoring lead.
And, it wasn’t Bulldog All-Everything quarterback Jake Browning throwing TD passes, either. He’s already enrolled at the University of Washington. It was a style of wrestling that was best demonstrated by the Section’s top-ranked 160-pounder Lorenzo De La Riva. He toyed with Elk Grove’s Brandon Viala on the mat, even giving him a couple pushes after both gapplers were well outside the circle.
The action received some gasps from Elk Grove parents and fans, yet Herd head coach Pat Coffing said De La Riva was doing something common in collegiate wrestling.
“You can’t get your feelings hurt because he’s wrestling on a more intense level,” Coffing explained. “Every time you go out-of-bounds in college, that’s what happens. I put some kid from (Ft. Hays State) Kansas into the president of the college’s lap when I was at Chadron (State College in Nebraska).”
De La Riva registered a technical fall outscoring Viala, 24-7, and the rout was on.
Coffing was wishing at the time his team, who won a league championship for the 12th year in a row and has become a regular at the Section team duals, would begin wrestling at the level Folsom was showing in the early matches. But, they didn’t come up to the Bulldog’s level that afternoon.
“Very disappointed. Folsom was just flat better today,” Coffing said. “Maybe they are every day. Who knows?”
The match began at the 152-pound weight group and it wasn’t until Elk Grove’s 215-pounder, Sai Ta’amu, won a 10-5 decision that the Herd was finally on the scoreboard.
But the rest of the match was really Folsom’s. Jacob Seto was the most impressive Elk Grove wrestler earning a second-period pin in the 113-pound match. Kelani Tonge (132 pounds) and Terrell Turner (138 pounds) both earned wins via decision.
“They created a scheme of flexibility in their lineup that was a terrible match-up stylistically for us,” Coffing tried to explain afterwards. “They do a real good job.”
To get into the championship round Elk Grove had to defeat Vacaville in the semi-finals and for the first time since 2009, the Herd beat the Bulldogs in a dual match, 38-19. Coffing’s disgust over the loss to Folsom overshadowed any sense of joy he and the boys could have had from defeating the perennial wrestling power so handily.
“We let our biggest moment this season get away right there (in the match against Folsom),” he lamented.
Saturday marked the first time in 20 years that Vacaville did not wrestle for the team dual championship. Last year, Vacaville lost to Folsom in the final round. Prior to that they had won four team championships in a row and 17 of the past 20 Section team dual titles.
Next up for all wrestling squads will be the league championships. The top four grapplers in each weight group will advance to the Section Divisional tournaments in two weeks.
“We need to clean up some things technically, bring up our intensity,” Coffing said. “I don’t think we came out flat today. We need more intensity. From now on it gets more personal, more intense in a hurry.”
Simultaneous to the team duals at Lincoln High School Saturday were the Section girls championships at NcNair High School. Del Oro easily won the team championship. Franklin was 25th overall led by Malaya Elgarico who finished in fifth place at 111 pounds.
Also placing was Elk Grove’s Esmeralda Arroyo. She was fifth at 101 pounds.
Florin’s Leili Lemmons finished fifth at 189 pounds and teammate Deantioneke Green was fourth at 235 pounds.