KINGSBURG - After a 14-0 deficit in its home gym, the Kingsburg wrestling team pinned nine-straight opponents enroute to a 54-14 victory over Reedley High on Dec. 12.
It was the second and final dual match this season for Kingsburg, who won both matches by a combined score of 112-29.
For senior wrestlers Bo Jackson and Brandon Rocha, it would be the final time they’ll step on the mat inside the Kingsburg High gym.
“It’s very sentimental in a way,” Jackson said. “I love this school and this sport so much. All that hard work in the wrestling room pays off when you get a win like this and the season is not even close to being over.”
“It hasn’t really hit me yet that it’s senior night,” Rocha said. “It’s crazy that I’ve been wrestling here since I was a kid and this is my last match in this gym.”
Both Jackson and Rocha were victorious against their opponents by pinfall, which capped off a dominating night.
Jackson wrestled in the 220-pound match, which was the final bout of the night. The senior pinned Abraham Ramirez with 19 seconds left in the first period.
Rocha competed in the 195-pound match and pinned Abraham Soto with 47 seconds left in the first period.
After the dual match was over, Vikings head coach Bryce Hammond asked himself “Did we get nine in a row?”
Hammond looked at results and counted amount of pinfalls in a row and said “wow,” but he wasn’t surprised by his team’s dominance.
“It’s what we should’ve done,” Hammond said. “It’s nothing to be super excited about, but it is good to go out and do what you should do. I’ll be concerned if that didn’t happen to be honest.”
Hammond said that type of dominance was reminiscence of his prep wrestling days at Bakersfield High School.
“When I wrestled at Bakersfield High, me and my brother [assistant coach Coleman Hammond], every single one of our dual meets was like that,” Hammond said. “We were going 14 weight classes and pinning 12 of them, so we haven’t had that here yet, so that’s good to have that finally going here.”
The first match of night went in Reedley’s favor, which resulted in a 10-7 decision won by Gabriel Rivera of the Pirates over Josh Longoria in the 113-pound match.
In the next bout, Kingsburg 120-pounder Josh Tartaglia was defeated by Philip Arroyo by pinfall. After the Vikings forfeited the 126-pound match, the Pirates had a 15-0 start. The score became 14-0 when Reedley had a point deducted with a unsportsmanlike conduct call against them.
Down 14-0, Emilio Martinez would provide the spark for Kingsburg, pinning Victor Galvan 31 seconds into the match. Martinez’s win started Kingsburg’s nine-pin streak.
“Once Emilio got that first pin, I knew it was going to carry on to the rest of the team and it did,” Jackson said. “I’ve never seen nine-straight pins before the third round in a row. That was awesome and I was super proud of our guys.”
The Vikings nine-pin streak would include wins by Xavier Jimenez (138 pounds), Jett Jackson (145), Noah Jimenez (152), Cal Muxlow (160), and Dustin Manfredi (170).
Hammond said it was “great” to see his team compete without three wrestlers who were out with an injury.
With some guys being injured, his main goal is for his team to get back into full health to compete for the postseason tournaments.
“With guys being injured and guys being out, we’re not going to do as well at invitationals as we otherwise would and that’s fine,” Hammond said.“Right now, I’m concerned about getting healthy. That’s the big thing right now for us and just keep improving. We’ve been improving so that’s good.”
The Vikings will compete at the Zinkin Classic at Buchanan High School on Dec. 21-22. After, the team will compete at the DeLiddo Classic at Lemoore High School on Dec. 27.