Story by John Salzer
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Santa Ana College Wrestling started its 2018 season by finishing 1-3 at the annual Bakersfield Duals which serves as the opening event for the fall wrestling season. Seven schools participated in the duals, including Santa Ana, Cerritos, Sacramento City, Victor Valley, West Hills Lemoore, Moorpark, and host Bakersfield. The team took five wrestlers, including returning state placer Josh Fuentes who is serving as team captain. The opponents for the day were Victor Valley, Moorpark, West Hills, and host Bakersfield. At the end of the day, three Dons finished undefeated: Oliver Rivero (133), Josh Fuentes (141), and Gustavo Mello (174).
The first round dual against Victor Valley saw very little action as both teams had limited personnel on their rosters. Sam Galdamez (125), Oliver Rivero (133), and Josh Fuentes (141) all picked up forfeit wins as Victor Valley did not have anybody at those weights. Victor Valley, in turn, received a forfeit win at 149 pounds as Santa Ana had a hole at that weight class. Both teams did not have wrestlers at the 157 and 165 classes resulting in double forfeits to bring the score to 18-6 with Santa Ana leading. Santa Ana would secure the win for the dual with Gustavo Mello (174) and Luis Cervantes (184) both getting wins by fall in their weight classes. Victor Valley would get forfeit wins at 197 and 285 with the final score being 30-18 for Santa Ana.
The second round saw Santa Ana dueling Moorpark College for the second time since Moorpark's wrestling program was reinstated last year. The first match of the dual ended with Moorpark's Richard Vaillancourt winning by decision 9-3 over Sam Galdamez at 125 pounds. Oliver Rivero for Santa Ana received a forfeit win to give the Dons the lead 6-3, and Josh Fuentes would immediately follow with a victory by fall at 2'02" over Moorpark's Andy Rodriguez at 141 to extend the Dons lead 12-3. The team's lack of personnel, however, proved to be a big disadvantage as they gave forfeit wins to Moorpark for the 149, 157, and 165 weights to fall behind 21-12. Gustavo Mello would win by decision 8-1 against Devin Top of Moorpark, and Luis Cervantes at 184 would win by forfeit to tie the dual 21-21. Moorpark would win by forfeit at heavyweight following a 197 double forfeit to take the dual 27-21.
In the third round, Santa Ana would face against West Hills Lemoore. All five Dons would wrestle in this dual, starting with Sam Galdamez who would lose to West Hills' John Sosa at 125 by majority decision score of 12-4. Oliver Rivero would points on the board for Santa Ana at 133, winning by technical fall 15-0 over his opponent Salvador Velasco. Josh Fuentes would also win by technical fall 18-2 over his 141 opponent Jacob Licea. After West Hills received three forfeit wins at 149, 157, and 165, Gustavo Mello would score the last dual points for Santa Ana with a win at 174 pounds with a 9-2 decision over Joe Romero. Luis Cervantes would fall behind early in his match at 184 against Fabian Maldonado of West Hills and could rally as he would lose by decision 8-2. West Hills would also receive two forfeit wins at 197 and 285 to win the dual 37-13 over the Dons.
The last dual of the day pitted Santa Ana against host Bakersfield. At 125, Pedro Ramirez would open the dual with a fall over Sam Galdamez to put the host team up 6-0. Excluding forfeits, the remaining Dons wrestlers all picked up wins. Oliver Rivero would finish with a technical fall 16-0 over Jared Callison, Josh Fuentes with a pin over Alexis Becerra at 1'58", Gustavo Mello also with a fall over Michael Jiminez at 1'17", and Luis Cervantes would get a decision win of 7-5 in a closely contested match with Bakersfield's Jacob Mattson. Bakersfield would receive forfeit wins at 149, 157, 197, and 285 to win the dual 30-20.
The Santa Ana College Wrestling team will be at Mt San Antonio College this coming Saturday, 9/15 for the Mt SAC Duals.