Paso Robles ready for C.I.T. this weekend

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Bearcats wrestling team hosted Sanger on Thursday night for a quick tune-up dual before the big Sam Boyd C.I.T. Wrestling tournament in Morro Bay this weekend. It was a close match that saw Paso Robles jump out to a sizable lead but the Apache’s strength was in their heavier classes and came back for the 45-35 victory.

The dual started with a Bearcat pin and ended with a Bearcat pin but it was Sanger who showed their strength during the evening, although it should be noted that several Paso wrestlers had spent the hours leading up to the match cutting weight and were back in the wrestling room right after doing so again in preparation for the tournament this weekend. 

First up in Crimson was a newer wrestler to the team in Shane Vaughn who occupied the 106-pound division and kicked off the match with a bang, pinning his opponent in the first two minutes and giving his team an early 6-0 advantage. 

Sanger tied the match up at six apiece with a pin of their own in the 113-pound division but Paso Robles won the next three matches to take what looked like a commanding lead. Jacob Marmalejo stepped into the ring next for the Crimson ‘Cats and put forward one of the grittiest performances of the night. In the first round, Maramalejo and his opponent began circling each other and tying up as they were both looking for an advantage but none was found as the match went to the second round scoreless. 

“It was kind of hard because we have a tournament tomorrow so I have to make weight the next day so I couldn’t eat or drink a whole bunch so I didn’t have very much energy,” Marmalejo said following his match. “But I just tried to stay in a good stance and stay tight I wore him down in the third period.”

The 120-pounder entered the third and final round up only a point but finally turned on the gas and used what energy he had to wrap up his opponent with only 39 seconds to go.

“I almost got the half the first time,” he explained of how he earned the pin. “And when it came back the second time I knew that I could get it.”

Up 12-6, it was now Austin Brenneman’s turn inthe  126-pound weight class. Brenneman dominated his opponent in the first round earning a takedown and a nearfall and finished the job in the second round for Paso Robles’ second consecutive pin. 

Next onto the mat was Bearcat senior Dylan Maduena who has made his return to wrestling after suffering an injury last year that forced him to miss the season. Maduena has been one of Paso Robles’ top wrestlers this season and proved it again Thursday with a clinical performance. 

“First thing, right at the beginning of a match, I don’t care who I’m wrestling, I always picture them as good as me or even a little bit better so that I don’t underestimate anyone, you know?” Maduena said after his victory. “Then I always have a game plan, getting in my ties or whatever I want to do, then fake and shot and go straight for the back points like I did. Hold him on his back and once I get back points I just work wrists and turn them.”

Maduena’s pin meant the fourth in five matches for the Bearcats who were now up 24-6. 

Maduena placed seventh at the C.I.T. two years ago and will be someone to watch on day two this weekend as he goes for the podium. 

Paso Robles would lose the next two matches bringing up the 152-pound weight class and the unquestioned match of the night between Colton Sullivan in crimson and Vincent Stanford in blue. With the single spotlight shining down upon them, the two boys went at it like a couple of lizards under a heat lamp. After the first round it was Stanford who had the advantage, 2-1. For two more minutes, the boys battled to the point of exhaustion but again it was Stanford with the edge gaining a third point with only two more minutes to go. A few seconds into the third and Sullivan found himself on the bottom, but suddenly, with the chants of his coaches, teammates and friends in stands blowing wind into his sails, he summoned one last burst of energy, broke free of his opponent and got back up to his feet. 

“I just knew I had to get up and get some points because I was down and my coaches told me to get up quick because I had about a minute and a half left,” Sullivan said following the match. “When he wasn’t paying attention I took his arm. He was wasting all his energy, so I just put the half in and he got tired.” 

With just seconds to spare Tyler West the officially tooted his whistle and the stands rang out with applause for their 170-pound warrior. 

Paso Robles would drop their next three matches, one via forfeit, putting the dual victory out of reach but that didn’t stop senior heavyweight Blake Haupt from putting on a show of his own with a first-round pin, the only one in crimson on Thursday. 

Friday the Paso Robles Wrestling team along with nearly every local team will make their way to Morro Bay for the 66th Annual Sam Boyd C.I.T. that brings in more than 90 schools from across California and Nevada. 

“This weekend I am really looking forward to seeing our team come together because we’ve got a full lineup now and kind of come to fruition with all the things that we have been practicing,” Paso Robles co-head coach Nate Ybarra said. “We have Peyton Kilber at 132 and Dylan Maduena at 126, those are two guys I would definitely watch for and I would even include out heavyweight Blake Haupt he should be in the medal round as well so I am really looking forward to those guys definitely placing.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles