Think you can beat Beyer High junior Jake Congleton? Meet him at his garage.
That's where Congleton (18-3), the Sac-Joaquin Section's top-ranked wrestler in the 103-pound class, goes when he feels he's not finished for the day. See, he's got a wrestling mat rolled out in the family's two-car garage.
There's no room for cars. Only takedowns.
"We bring the guys over," Congleton said. "I guess we wrestle there about two days a week."
Two of the Beyer junior's favorite competitors are his brother Oliver, a 2009 Beyer graduate who twice qualified for the State Championships, and his father Dan.
"He (Dan) is a good partner, even if he's a little bigger than me. We kind of go back and forth," Jake said. "Oliver helps me with a lot of things."
Congleton's "homework" has resulted in more than a little success. He's 18-3, featuring a second at the Western at Modesto Junior College, a third at the Big Valley Classic in Stockton and, last weekend, a 7-0 run to win his weight class at Modesto High's Big Cat Classic.
He's an honorable mention in the state rankings, which means he could join the state elite if he successfully defends his title at Pitman High's Rumble in the Jungle on Saturday.
Congleton blossomed as a sophomore when he won the Modesto Metro Conference title and reached the section semifinals. His 8-3 loss to Turlock's talented Brandon Egleston didn't discourage him. He went 2-2 at the State in Bakersfield and was one of 11 Stanislaus District wrestlers to reach the second day.
"You can see him getting stronger and cleaning up his technique," Beyer coach Tim Louis said. "I expect him to make State and finish in the top eight."
NOTES — Pitman's 40-27 dual-meet win over Turlock last week resonated. It was the Pride's first-ever win over the Bulldogs, the traditional Central California Conference power, and a large crowd at the Turlock gym saw the breakthrough. "That was a great atmosphere and the loudest crowd I've ever heard for a dual meet," said second-year Pitman coach Adam Vasconcellos, a former Bulldog along with others on his staff. "To get that win and show people we have a program on the rise was a big deal." Manuel Madrigal's 5-4 decision over Julian Talamonte at 125 sealed the win. ... Pitman carried that momentum into the 70-team Mid-Cal Classic last weekend at Gilroy, where the Pride finished an impressive fifth. Five Pitman wrestlers were in the top eight, led by junior Andrew Perez's runner-up finish at 135. Gustavo Verver was third though pinned in the final by Central's Rudolfo Juarez, ranked third in the state at 189. ... Pitman's Rumble will welcome 25 teams and about 700 wrestlers on Saturday. Finals will start at about 5 p.m. ... Six Stanislaus District wrestlers are listed in thecaliforniawrestler. com's state rankings: Shane Tate of Oakdale (second, 130), Turlock's Fabian Garcia (third, 119), David Ferry of Central Catholic (fourth, 140), Mathew Galas of CC (fourth, 285), Charlie Gilstrap of Oakdale (fifth, 215) and Trent Noon of Oakdale (eighth, 145). ...
About 520 wrestlers, 45 of them girls, took part in a JV competition last weekend at Enochs. "This is something we'll be doing every year," Enochs coach Duane Brooks said. The Eagles have seven girls, including two 100-pounders — senior Alanna Colon and freshman Jenae Rivas. The unofficial state girls championship is this weekend at Hanford.