FAIRFIELD — The Mustangs are back to being kings of their own gym.
After two seasons as runner-up to Bella Vista, the Rodriguez High wrestling team came out on top at its own Lou Encalada Invitational Saturday, the sixth annual, earning 190 points to second-place De La Salle’s 142.5.
Armijo pulled out a third-place finish with 131 points, with Bella Vista (123.5) fourth and Folsom (122.5) fifth. Will C. Wood (88.5) finished eighth, Vacaville’s B team (79.5) was ninth, while Fairfield (24) was 21st.
“Our kids, from what I saw when I was out there, were wrestling really tough,” Mustangs coach Mike Clarkston said.
Rodriguez crowned three individual champions on its way to the title, with Brandon Vu (123), Ralph Carios (148) and Patrick Ferrer (223) winning championships.
Vu was dominating McQueen’s Mike Paulk 14-6 late in the third period before pinning him with 8 seconds left.
“Last year I went 2-2 in this tournament, so it feels good to be a champion,” Vu said. “It feels great. I’ve worked so hard for this. I busted my butt every day for this.”
Carios, injured early in the first round. was also in total control of his match with Bella Vista’s Sam Pfau, leading 6-2 after the first period, 13-6 after the second and he poured it on in the third to win 19-8 to defend his title from a year ago.
“It would have come (even) easier if I didn’t hurt my ribs in the beginning,” Carios said. “I did some kind of weird move and it hurt my ribs. It made it a little difficult to wrestle the rest of the period. “I just wanted to make my coach proud, he’s like a second dad. I work hard for the team and it was fun, too, getting gold.”
Ferrer may have had the most dominant match out of his team’s three champions, pinning Wood’s Josh Winters in the opening round.
“I feels good because this is my second year winning it, I won it last year, and it was against the same guy,” Carios said. “He’s beat me three times this season (at different tournaments). This was my match . . . to redeem myself.”