PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Bearcats and Atascadero Greyhounds opened league play on Wednesday night as the spotlight was turned on in the Gil Asa Gymnasium setting the scene for gladiators to battle it out. The match was not very competitive with Paso Robles winning 68-6, both sides had fun and are less concerned with wins at this point in the season and more worried about improving.
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The Bearcat wrestlers dominated the mat early and often winning many of their matches via pins in the first two periods.
“I think they had fun,” Paso Robles head wrestling coach John Azevedo said. “It is always fun to not have to practice and get to compete. They wrestled hard and we did some good things.”
Only one wrestler for Atascadero was able to score points on the evening and that was senior Daniel Morales who pinned his opponent in the 132-pound weight class in the third period.
“It was really inspiring to me because I have put so much work into this,” Morales said. “I was gone for a week because I went to a wedding and didn’t work out at all and I came back and then next thing you know I am back. I lost the weight to get down to this weight class and went on runs every night to get good cardio and it really did pay off — it really paid off for my team in showing them that I am a good leader.”
Hazelhofer echoed Morales’ point saying, “He has just been really intense and working really hard in the room and I need to get more of my guys wrestling like him and we will be heading in the right direction.”
The Greyhounds only dressed eight wrestlers for the dual meaning they forfeited six matches in the 106-, 113-, 138-, 160-, 170-, and 195-pound divisions.
This was one of only two dual meets the Bearcats will host all season and their wrestlers knew it and wanted to put on a show for the home crowd.
“It felt great,” Bearcat junior and heavyweight Blake Haupt said following his first-period pin. “There was a lot of supporters and I didn’t think there would be that much. It felt like a basketball game out here, it was really fun.”
Haupt put on the best show of the night when he used Atascadero’s own move against them.
Atascadero’s Brenden Hayden had a double-under hook on Haupt and the Atascadero bench began yelling for a body lock. Rather than wait for the second round Haupt went with a body lock of his own. When asked if he went with the body lock because of the Atascadero bench he simply replied, “Yes,” with his smile beaming.
Both teams will have this weekend off and a full week of practice next week before they head to Bakersfield on Dec. 21 for the Bakersfield High School wrestling tournament.