Grace Davis has grown accustomed to dictating most of the terms at the Modesto Metro Conference Wrestling Championships.
Friday night proved no exception.
The Spartans, dual-meet champions the last three years and four of the last six, qualified eight wrestlers into the weight-class finals at the Enochs High gym. All but one took home a first-place medal, and it hardly mattered that team scores weren't counted in the MMC's grand-finale meet.
Davis ruled. As usual.
"A very happy day. My team wrestled good," Davis coach Mike Cantwell concluded. "More important, we had good matches going into next week."
Cantwell referred to the Sac-Joaquin Section Divisional next weekend at Lincoln in Stockton, the next step on the road to the State Championship. The top four finishers at Enochs punched their ticket to next week, so athletes who shook off a loss received a better-than-good reward.
The long day was capped by 14 title matches, none of them tighter than the 142-pound climax between Juan Ruiz of Davis and A.J. Luna of Enochs. Ruiz survived 4-3 with 18.9 seconds left in overtime after his opponent was whistled for stalling.
The Spartans swept to victories in six of the final eight classes, including a solid 7-0 win by 217-pounder Jacob Hill (28-4), ranked fifth in the section. It was Hill's third straight MMC title.
"I didn't want to lose in my senior year," he said.
The day's biggest surprise involved someone who wasn't there. Beyer junior Jake Congleton, ranked first most of the season at 103, quit the team last week. Responding for the Patriots was Zac Andrews, who outlasted Eric McCray of Davis, 7-4.
Enochs, the dual-meet runner-up behind the Spartans, picked up titles from Grady Nakano (114) and Ray Duenas (137).
"We had our best-ever finish. We're going in the right direction," Enochs coach Duane Brooks said. "We have a lot of seniors this year, but we have a nice young group coming up."
The most thrilling final took place at 121 when Johansen sophomore Josh Diaz survived four lead changes to stop Enochs senior Ricky Miranda, 11-10. Diaz's escape with 30 seconds left won it.
"I tried to visualize my matches and practice these types of situations," said Diaz, an MMC runner-up last year. "The easier the matches are, the easier the way to get to state. The last match wasn't easy."
Wrestlers who won via fall included Downey's Chris Kreifels (105), Nakano, Jorje Saucedo Jr. of Modesto (132), Gabe Gonzales of Davis (162) and heavyweight Alex Becker of Davis.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2302.