FAIRFIELD — Will C. Wood came to wrestle. Rodriguez High wrestled just a little bit better.
The Mustangs claimed three of only four pins Wednesday night on their way to a 34-24 Monticello Empire League victory over the Wildcats.
“We’ve been working hard to keep the bonus points down,” Rodriguez coach Mike Clarkston said. “Only giving up one pin . . . even against their tough kids, we wrestled tough. We just went out and battled for six minutes and scored points, making sure we didn’t give up too many big matches. We’re finally getting healthy, we’re finally coming along. This was the closest thing to our starting lineups that we’ve had since wrestle-offs. It’s starting to come together and look like a quality squad.”
The dual match was even throughout the evening, with the final score the largest lead either team held.
Wood’s J.T. Teel (106 pounds) and Elijah Mando (113) open the match with wins to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead, but Rodriguez rebounded for a 7-6 advantage after Brandon Vu (120) and Greg Papish (126) picked up victories.
The next two matches belonged to the Wildcats as Royce Ramirez (132) recorded his team’s only pin before Alex Parvin (138) picked up a hard-fought 9-6 victory over Cody Evans for a 15-7 lead.
But the Mustangs bounced right back to take a 16-15 lead after Ralph Carios (145) and Jake Cross (152) got wins, Cross’ by a pin in just 1 minute, 4 seconds.
The back-and-forth battle swung back Wood’s way, with Adrian Maldonado (160) and Markus Maurlot (170) winning to grab a 21-16 lead.
Then Rodriguez turned on the gas as Henry Medeiros (182) and Mark Papish (195) each won by fall, Papish’s coming in just 55 seconds, giving the Mustangs a 28-21 advantage.
Wood’s Josh Winters (22) stopped the bleeding momentarily, winning a 6-0 decision, but the Wildcats didn’t have a heavyweight, forfeiting six points to the Mustangs’ Anthony Ishaq for the final score.
Wildcats’ coach Thor Jensen was pleased with his team’s performance, even though his team was a bit younger.
“It was a close dual, a good dual” Jensen said. “Obviously we are kind of inexperienced in the upper weights. That hurt us. But it was a good dual back and forth. We don’t have a heavyweight, but he’ll be back next week and that hurt us, too. . . . But they have some good kids.”
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.