Union Democrat staff

The Sonora Wildcats wrestling squad finished second out of a field of 30 Friday and Saturday at the Apple Cider Tournament in Watsonville.

“The team is really showing improvement,” said Sonora head coach Jon Abernathy. “We are winning more close matches. We had four wrestlers reach the finals and two, third-place finishers.

The one Wildcat to finish in first was Keanu Perez (113) who went a perfect 4-0.

In Sonora’s first match of the tournament, it defeated Sacred Heart 43-21. Zach Whitmer (160) and Nate Gookin (182) picked up pin wins.

“Zach Whitmer was physically dominant in his matches until the finals where is lack of experience and practice time showed (due to playing soccer),” Abernathy said.

In the second match, Sonora beat Coalinga 42-30. Coleton Sanguinetti (126) and Whitmer finished with pins.

The Wildcats fell to eventual tournament champs San Benito 42-33 in the semifinals. Perez, Kellen Phillips (145), Whitmer, Gabe Atwood (170) and Gookin had pins.

“Kellen Phillips showed much improvement in his match strategy and confidence in making the finals at 145,” Abernathy said.

In the third-place match, Sonora defeated Everett Alvarez 45-36. Sanguinetti, Ethan Champe (138), Phillips, Brett Stewart, Whitmer, Gookin and Matt Tarantino (220) picked up wins.

“Gookin got behind in his finals match then injured his ankle,” Abernathy said. “He finished the match but couldn’t put weight on his foot.”

During the match, Sonora built a 45-18 lead and needed to not be pinned in one match to insure the victory. Heavyweight Aaron David clinched with win with a 5-3 decision.

All Wildcat wrestlers finished the day with more wins than losses: Sanguinetti (4-1), Brandon Murphy (3-2), Champe (3-2) Phillips finished in second (3-1), Whitmer finished in second (3-1), Atwood (4-1), Gookin had a second place finish (3-1), Tarantino (3-1) and David (3-2).

Sonora will next hit the mat at 6 p.m. Wednesday for its first home home dual of the year. The Wildcats will take on Sierra Ridge ROP.

Bears battle at wrestling tournament in Escalon

The Summerville Bears wrestling squad participated Friday and Saturday at the Lloyd Engel Wrestling Tournament in Escalon.

The Bears finished with six second-place finishes and one third.

Picking up second place finishes were Brennan Dibble (106), who went 6-1 in the “A” bracket; Austin White (113), 3-2 in the “B” bracket; Devin Conklin (145), 6-1 in the “A” bracket; Nathaniel Mata (152) 4-2 in the “C” bracket; Tony Kellogg (195), 5-2 in the “A” bracket; Rhett Oellrich (220), 5-2 in the “A” bracket and Carson Caya (22), went 5-1 in the “A” bracket.

Summerville senior Zach Marquez (152) went 5-2 in the “A” bracket and finished in third place. Leland Merlin (195), Brandon Lesley (138), and Jeshua Sanders (126) all won two matches.

“I am very proud of how the team wrestled,” said Summerville head coach Jordan DePaoli. “This was a great tournament to gain valuable experience, being that each wrestler was able to get at least five matches.”

Summerville travels Wednesday to Jackson to face Argonaut and Amador at 6 p.m.