TURLOCK -- The Grace Davis Spartans walked into the sixth annual Rumble In The Jungle with a task at hand -- to get ready for the postseason.
That they did Saturday, and Mike Crowell's potentially broken nose will serve as a most acceptable price to pay.
Crowell (29-7) won the Rumble's 154-pound class by pasting Carson Schmidley of team champion Granite Bay 17-2. But in the semifinals, Crowell handed in a bloody scoresheet after he won via disqualification vs. Hilmar's Tyler Juncker, who threw a few punches while trailing.
"I have a bloody lip and might have a broken nose," said Crowell, a senior after his fourth win of the day. "I'll get through the pain and keep going."
Later, Davis' Gabe Gonzalez defeated Beyer's Luis Rebolledo 8-4 in the 162 finals and teammate Eric McCray topped Zac Andrews of Beyer 8-6 to win the 173s. The Spartans added one second, by freshman Dominique Dominquez (105), en route to a fourth-place team finish, the highest by a Modesto city school in the field of 29.
"We had a very solid day, and we also won the JV tournament," Davis coach Mike Cantwell said. "I'm liking it."
There was a lot to like about Pitman High's Rumble, which got its start as a tribute to the late G.W. Wingo, the former Modesto Junior College state champion, All-American at Cal Poly and longtime coach. Nearly 540 wrestlers took part this year in the last major meet before the postseason.
Many top-ranked wrestlers sat out, nursed injuries or had crept too close to the maximum of 40 regular-season matches. Still, many top-of-the-line performers received a final tuneup. One of them was Turlock High's Fabian Garcia (35-4), ranked first in the Sac-Joaquin Section at 119, who overcame a tweaked knee to handle East Union's Marco Castaneda with a 16-1 major decision in the 127-pound division.
"I've been taking it easy during practices," Garcia said in reference to the knee he twisted three weeks ago at the Five Counties in Huntington Beach. "I'm confident."
Garcia joined with fellow Bulldog champions Garrett Fortado (105) and Omar Montes (142) to propel Turlock to third place behind behind Granite Bay and runner-up Golden Valley.
The host Pride, which annexed its first-ever dual-meet win over Turlock two weeks ago, placed fifth. Tyler Klinkhammer (121) and Gustavo Verver (191) satisfied home-team fans with weight-class titles.
Verver (36-4), the heavily chiseled late-blooming senior, grinded out a 7-0 win over the well-regarded Alex Nuanez of Sierra (28-6) in a final that drew more than a few photographers around the mat. Verver also stopped Nuanez 8-0 in the Big Valley Classic semifinal in Stockton.
"It's always tougher going against the same opponent a second time," said Verver, who may advance a few notches from his current No. 6 in the section. "He came out a little different this time. I just came out and wrestled the way I wrestled."
Other winners included Ben Weber of Golden Valley (114), Jason Cortez of East Union (132) and Carson Gracia of Summerville (147).
It was Davis, however, which probably pulled the most from the meet. The Spartans will fly into their Modesto Metro Conference title match against Enochs next week with what every wrestler wishes right now.