It’s a luxury when a wrestler has a good workout partner to practice against all season.
That’s the case in the Golden Valley wrestling room with their lower weights. The strength of the Cougars was on display Wednesday night as Criselio Rivera, Tanner Browning, Brady Mello and Jacob Perry recorded four straight pins during Golden Valley’s 55-14 win over Enochs at Cougar Arena.
“Our guys in the lower weights are really aggressive, really offensive,” said Golden Valley coach Chopper Mello, whose team improved to 8-0. “They’re workout partners in the room. You can tell that’s going to make them better having somebody pushing them in practice every day.”
Two Enochs forfeits and pins by Christian Hoekstra (170 pounds) and Phillip Pavey (220) already gave the Cougars a comfortable 31-11 lead by the time the match turned over to the lower weights.
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However, the Cougars little guys put on a show.
Rivero scored two quick takedowns of David Castro in the first minute of their 106-pound match before recorded a pin with 1 minute and 2 seconds left in the first round.
Tanner Browning took down Andrew Lyu 28 seconds into their match and then went to work. The Golden Valley junior came close to pinning Lyu three times, earning three nearfall points each time to build an 11-0 lead by the end of the first round.
Browning had Lyu twisting and turning to stay alive for the final 90 seconds of the first round.
“I was going for the pin but he was really flexible, kind of Gumby,” Browning said. “The big thing there is wrestle smart. You want to go for the pin, but you don’t want to go too hard and get yourself in a bad spot.”
After tiring Lyu out in the first round, Browning scored a quick reversal to start the second round and recorded a pin 24 seconds into the round for the win.
“Tanner is really an experienced wrestler,” Chopper Mello said. “Tanner has looked good early in the season. He was an all-tournament selection this past weekend (at the Newark Rotary Iron Man). Hopefully he can keep wrestling at a high level.”
Brady Mello, who is a freshman who grew up in the program with his father as coach, was impressive in pinning Elijah Stanley early in the second round of their 120-pound match after building a 9-2 lead. So was Perry (126) who stormed out to a 13-2 lead before pinning John Anderson with 15 seconds left in the second round.
“It helps having a good workout partner because you can go hard at practice,” Browning said. “We get good scrambles. It’s going to make us better in certain positions.”
Conditioning also played a factor with the Cougars competing in their eighth dual and Enochs wrestling in their first. Some of the Eagles wrestlers looked exhausted late in their match.
“Conditioning has been a factor all season,” Chopper Mello said. “Usually we’re in shape early in the season and we hope other teams don’t catch up in that department.”