Superior depth carried the Arroyo Grande boys wrestling team to a tournament championship Saturday.
The Eagles had top-five finishers in six weight classes, Arroyo Grande's Levi Frey (145 pounds) and Mason Garcia (195) won individual weight class championships, and the Eagles edged runner-up Paso Robles 175-169 for the team championship in the 23rd edition of The Bash wrestling tournament at Pioneer Valley High School.
Frey edged Ean Evans of Tulare Mission Oak with a late two-point takedown to win their 145-pound title match 7-6. Garcia nipped Nipomo's Jesse Garza 6-4 to win at 195.
The top three finishers in the 25-team tournament were Central Coast squads, and first-year CIF Central Section Mountain League, teams. Host Pioneer Valley placed third with 143.5 points. Porterville Monache was fourth with 133.5 and Mission Oak, with 125 points, rounded out the top five.
"I thought (the two-day tournament that finished Saturday) went pretty well," said second-year Pioneer Valley coach Kent Olson, who oversaw the tournament. Olson ran The Bash tourney at Lemoore High School for decades when he coached there. Olson is in his second season as Pioneer Valley's coach.
"There were a lot of competitive Central Section Division 2 schools, so we got a really good look," at what his team might face in the post-season, said Olson. Having coached in the Central Valley for decades, Olson, a 2014 selectee to the California Wrestling Hall of Fame, was familiar with several of the teams from that region.
Among area teams, Righetti finished sixth with 119 points; Nipomo was 10th with 80; Lompoc wound up 12th with 74; St. Joseph was 14th with 64; Santa Maria finished 18th with 52; and Cabrillo was 21st with 45.
Pioneer Valley sophomore Jacob Sechslingloff earned The Don Olson Memorial Award, which was named in honor of Kent Olson's late father. Sechslingloff pinned Steven Torres of Mission Oak at the 1:11 mark of the second round to win the first weight class title of the day, at 106 pounds.
"I used the high C move (in which the Pioneer Valley wrestler worked his advantage from the top position) to get the pin," said Sechslingloff.
"That was the move that worked best for me today."
The Lighter Weights MVP (weight classes 106 to 132) was Francisco Perez of Monache. Perez defeated top seed Xavier Martinez of Bakersfield Golden Valley with a 16-3 major decision to win the title at 126 pounds.
The Middle Weights MVP (weight classes 138 to 160) was Golden Valley's Dominick Leon. Leon was the top seed at 138 pounds, and he rallied to edge Alex Rodriguez of Visalia Redwood 3-1 in a tough, low-scoring title match.
The Upper Weights MVP (170 to 285 pounds) was Jacob Lightner of Lake Isabella Kern Valley. The top seed at 285 pounds stopped Lompoc's Jacob Nunez 1:21 into their title match.
There were three area individual weight class champions. Besides Sechslingloff, Righetti senior Adan Solis edged Andrew Fragoso of Arroyo Grande 10-7 to win at 160 pounds, and Lompoc's Dechlan Sparrow beat Jacob Medrano of St. Joseph 4-1 in the 182-pound title match.
Solis rushed for more than 1,700 yards for a Righetti football team that made it to the 2018 Central Section Division 2 title game.
After such a long football season, "It took me maybe three weeks to a month to get in wrestling shape," said Solis.
"I started the year wrestling at 170. One-sixty is my natural weight. I made it to the (Southern Section) Masters Meet last year, and my goal is to make the state meet this year," said Solis after he won a tournament for the first time this season.
Sparrow is a four-year Lompoc wrestler who said his goal is to WIN at the state tournament. Like Solis, Sparrow was a Southern Section Masters qualifier last year. Lompoc stayed in the Southern Section this year.
"I know I can always improve," said Sparrow. "I need to work hard in the (practice) room. I can get a lot better than what I am right now."
There were a lot of upsets at this meet. Only half of the 14 top seeds made it to title matches, though five of them - Leon, Lightner, Andrew Huynh of Ripon (113 pounds), Mark Cardwell of Monache (170) and Hayden Pulis of Hanford (220) won.
The top seed went against the No. 2 seed in just two title matches.
Huynh stopped Landen Cabeje of Monache at 1:49 of the second round to win the 113-pound championship. Cardwell scored an 8-1 decision over Nicholas Zavala of Mission Oak to win at 170 and Pulis pinned Kern Valley's Diego Tapia with 16 seconds left in their title match.
Peyton Kilber of Paso Robles defeated Andres Ojeda of Pioneer Valley 3-0 to win at 120 pounds. Kilber's teammate, Tanner Porter, rallied to edge Jude Miranda of Hanford 8-6 in overtime of the 132-pound title match.
In the upper weights, Jose Perez of Firebaugh scored a 10-4 upset win over top seed Jarron Sullivan of Redwood at 152 pounds.