VACAVILLE — It always helps to have a full lineup, especially when things go wrong.
The Rodriguez High wrestling team had one of its competitors pin himself – while dominating his opponent – but Will C. Wood forfeited four matches as the Mustangs cruised to a 50-24 Monticello Empire League victory, Wednesday.
“I knew that going in,” Wildcats coach Thor Jensen said of his lineup woes. “In the other two duals against Armijo and Vintage we had a senior we could bump up. He wasn’t (available) today.”
Rodriguez coach Mike Clarkston felt the cushion was took big for his wrestlers to ignore.
“You still want to see them wrestle well,” Clarkston said. “Apparently they thought about the 24 points. I told (a reporter) last week it’s (all about) consistency. You’ve got to show up and compete your best. It’s a challenge. Some did, some wrestled better.”
Rodriguez got off to a solid start with Marcus Ison getting a pin in 1 minute, 51 seconds at 108 pounds.
Wood’s Jeff Teel countered with a pin in 51 seconds at 115 to tie it.
JoeMar Anicete of the Mustangs then jumped to a 5-0 lead on Anthony McCottrell at 122 but somehow wound up on his back and pinning himself moments after nearly doing it earlier.
“I figured it was a nine-point swing,” Clarkston said. “Before JoeMar got pinned, he was aggressive.”
“We probably weren’t going to win that,” Jensen said.
Wood’s lead didn’t last long as it forfeited to Brandon Vu at 128 pounds to tie it 12-12.
The Wildcats regained the lead at 134 when Cody Healer earned a pin in 3:30 after choosing the top position to start the second round.
Malachi Estep got the momentum back for Rodriguez with a methodical 13-0 major decision at 140.
Jarrod Guinn put the Mustangs back in front at 20-18 with a 12-2 major decision at 147 pounds.
“Jarrod Guinn wrestled pretty tough,” Clarkston said.
Wood’s final victory came at 154 pounds as Markus Mourlot built a 7-3 lead before getting the pin in 4:28, putting the Wildcats ahead 24-20.
Emilio Gutierrez pulled the visitors to within a point with a 9-5 win over Drake McKee at 162 in match that was much closer than the final score. McKee trailed 6-1 before getting a takedown and 2-point near fall to get to within 6-5. He gave away a point to have a shot at taking down his opponent but Gutierrez sealed the win with a takedown in the final seconds.
The evening’s suspense ended there as Wood forfeited to Josh Weiss at 172 and Christian Chubbs at 184, sealing the win for Rodriguez. There was another forfeit to heavyweight LT Ferrer.
The last two matches contested saw Rodriguez’s Isreal Colozza use a first-period takedown for a 2-0 win at 197 and teammate Ryan Ballard getting a pin in 5:32 at 222.
Competing against Wood allowed Clarkston to return to his alma mater and do battle against his former coach.
“It’s a little different sitting across from your high school coach wearing a different color,” Clarkston said.
Both teams compete in the Tim Brown Memorial tournament in Sacramento on Friday and Saturday, with the Mustangs hosting Vacaville while the Wildcats are at Napa next Wednesday.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.