Los Banos High’s hope for a fifth straight league championship or co-championship came to an end with Tuesday’s 36-34 loss to Central Catholic.
The loss dropped the Tigers to a 3-3 dual record in the Western Athletic Conference. Central Catholic finished 5-1, and Central Valley defeated Patterson to finish undefeated in league duals. But now that the league season is finished, the postseason is just beginning.
“We’re out of the outright or co-championship, but we’ll still try to win the league tournament,” Los Banos coach Josh Adams said. “Where we’ve lost in duals, teams have had to adjust their lineups to take advantage of some of the gaps we have, but when it comes to the tournament, we feel we have a pretty good team.”
Despite the loss to Central Catholic, Adams was impressed with several of his wrestlers – starting with sophomore Paul Reyes, who held Galhiel Dillard, one of the toughest wrestlers in the area, to a major decision instead of a pin, taking two points away from the Raiders. Heavyweight Evan Duran once again pulled out a pin after trailing in his match.
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But a few matches didn’t go the Tigers’ way, such as Josh Bustamante’s loss to Steven Abbate at 132 and a loss at 106 pounds.
“Other than the bittersweet loss, I thought they wrestled well,” Adams said.
The final league standings take half of their points from the league dual standings and half from the league finals tournament. Los Banos has finished second in the dual standings in the past, only to win a co-championship by winning the league finals. This year’s league finals are Feb. 15 in Ceres.
Pacheco finished the league duals without a win, losing 69-6 to Central Catholic on Wednesday. The Panthers sent six wrestlers to the Rumble in the Jungle tournament in Turlock over the weekend, with Christian Grijalva placing sixth at 126 pounds and Ruben Rocha placing sixth at 152.