FAIRFIELD — Another season, another Monticello Empire League wrestling championship for Vacaville.
The Bulldogs wrapped up its 20th consecutive MEL title and 37th overall after their win in the league tournament at E. Gary Vaughn Gymnasium, Saturday.
Vacaville scored 287 points with nine champions, three second-place finishers and two in third.
Rodriguez was next with 187 points, including one champion, six second-place finishers and two in third place.
Armijo was just behind the Mustangs with 171.5 points, which included three champions, and two second- and two third-place finishers.
Will C. Wood came away with a fifth place finish, scoring 142 points with four third-place finishers.
Vacaville won six out of the first seven matches in the finals. Winners in that group included Jordan Aquino (108 pounds, 2-0), Gionn Peralta (122, 2-0), Anthony Hernandez (128, 2-0), Bobby Ehman (134, 2-0), Matt Brazet (140, 2-0) and Hayden Fry (147, 2-0).
Peralta and Fry sealed their fourth MEL titles, while Ehman and Brazet grabbed their second.
“We don’t take wins for granted,” Vacaville co-head coach Adam Wight said. “I’m happy for Gion (Peralta) and Hayden (Fry) to get their fourth (MEL titles), which is rare.”
So rare that only five previous wrestlers had won four MEL titles – the last for Vacaville in 2010.
There was a shift in momentum at 154, as Armijo’s Jorge Perez was the first to top a Vacaville wrestler in the finals.
Perez (2-0) was down 1-0 to Eric Udall of the Bulldogs in the second period when he took command to get a pin in 3 minutes, 22 seconds, the first champion for the Indians on the night.
“I’m excited I got first place,” said Indians Perez through his aunt, Cynthia Trujillo, who translated for him. “I’m really proud to be the first one to beat Vacaville.
“It was more exciting to win by pin, not just for the points, but the fact that it was a pin.”
Rodriguez then got its champion as Emilio Gutierez (162, 2-0) won on a close 3-1 decision over Vacaville’s Quintin Cardoza.
The next two champions both came from Armijo, Amini Kapapa (172, 2-0) and Billy Cimmino (184, 2-0).
Kapapa won a 12-4 decision over Rodriguez’s Josh Weiss, while Cimmino won a close 3-2 decision over the Bulldogs’ Zach Myers.
“It took a lot of hard work to get here,” Kapapa said. “I’m glad I made it on the (Armijo wrestling room’s) championship wall.”
Cimmino attributed hard work and dedication to his win also. “Even when you wrestle against tough opponents, you have to come out on top,” he said. “I knew from the beginning I was the first seed and I would do anything to win the match, and that’s what I did.”
Vacaville won the last three matches of night – including a win from Jeramy Sweany (222, 2-0), giving him three MEL titles.
Armijo’s Darius Levan (108, 1-1) and Houston Skibek (115, 1-1) finished in second place, while Hayden Scibek (134, 2-1) and Kris Elken (222, 3-1) finished third.
The Mustangs had second place finishes from Brandon Vu (128, 1-1), Jarrod Guinn (147, 1-1), Weiss (172, 1-1), while Israel Colozza (197, 1-1). Joemar Anicete (122, 3-1) and Christian Chubbs (184, 3-1) finished in third.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said Indians coach Cesar Correa. “We had two tough (finals) losses against Napa and Vacaville but Jorge (Perez) got us going.
“I was super proud of him and he’s been working hard all year and to see him get rewarded like that is awesome.”
Correa was named the MEL Coach of the Year and said, “It’s cool to be recognized by your peers. I’m happy.”