FAIRFIELD — The Bulldogs came with their full set of teeth. The young Mustangs didn’t have a chance.
In preparation for the Monticello Empire League Championships Feb. 15, the Vacaville High wrestling team came out in pretty much its full force, rolling to a 54-12 win over Rodriguez, Wednesday.
After the Bulldogs co-head coach Adam Wight tinkered with his lineup two seasons ago against the Mustangs, the coach wasn’t taking any chances in 2014.
“We’ve been looking at Rodriguez as the match for the league championship,” Wight said. “A couple of years ago we had a pretty close dual meet with them, we mixed some kids up (and almost lost). I’m not going to do that again for a while.
“We need to keep these kids wrestling and keep them on the mat. We need to try to keep them sharp. (League) is getting closer. We have a small tournament this weekend. We need to go and keep building leads and winning matches, the things that will keep us successful.”
Led by defending state champion Jeremy Sweany, currently ranked No. 1 in the state at 222 pounds, Vacaville lost just two matches on the mat out of 13, giving up a third loss in the heavyweight division to a forfeit.
Sweany looked in postseason form already, building a 10-4 lead over Ryan Ballard in the first period before recording a pin with 1 minute, 31 seconds left in the second.
Gionn Peralta, a state runner-up last season and ranked No. 1 at 113, wrestled up at 128 and built a 12-0 lead over JoeMar Anicete before recording a pin of his own with 1:22 to go in the second.
Hayden Fry, another returning state qualifier for the Bulldogs, made a little quicker work of his opponent, getting a pin 1:48 at 162 pounds.
“(Rodriguez) is always going to be around (near the top of the league standings), but so are we,” Wight said. “I’ve wrestled some sophomores prior to this night, but it’s time for Jeremy and Gionn and Hayden to start getting their matches in (in preparation for the postseason).”
Rodriguez coach Mike Clarkston knew his young team would have trouble with Vacaville, so he got his team prepared individually to just try to do the best they could.
“The big thing we talked about (at practice) is how much effort you put out (against a good team like Vacaville),” Clarkston said. “That’s the only thing you can control, not how good the other guy is. It’s about how hard you’re trying.
“(Tuesday at practice), we were focusing on a couple of things. Some of the kids were applying it, which was nice to see, but we still could use a little work on two big things that could give us a lot of improvement real fast.”
Picking up wins for the Mustangs were Brandon Vu at 134 pounds, outpointing the Bulldogs’ Kyle Moore 5-3, including three points in the final period to seal the win.
Emilio Gutierrez was Rodriguez’s other winner on the mat, holding off Quintin Cardoza 8-7 in the final period. Cardoza had a takedown with 20 seconds to go but couldn’t muster a near fall for the win. Chris Williams got the Mustangs final win with a forfeit at heavyweight.
Other winners for Vacaville were Chris Shirar (108, 16-0), Alex Myers (115, pin), Jordan Aquino (122, pin), Matt Brazet (140, 6-5), Brayden Merrick (147, 9-7), Eric Udall (154, 16-2), Zach Myers (184, pin) and Steven Gomez, who got a takedown with 6 seconds left in overtime to beat Isreal Colozza at 197 pounds.
Vacaville won the JV match, 54-21.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.