Pioneer Valley wins 43-23

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Bearcats wrestling team hosted senior night on Wednesday as they said goodbye to three wrestlers in Dylan Maduena, Cameron Davidson and Blake Haupt but could not come up with the win, losing 43-23 to Pioneer Valley.

Only one of the three seniors was able to end their Bearcat regular season on a high note — 145-pound wrestler Cameron Davidson. Davidson was part of a thrilling match that went the distance, eventually earning himself the major decision victory while Maduena’s (126 pounds) weight class was forfeit and Haupt was pinned in the second round.

“It was an emotional match for me, I have been wrestling my whole life,” Davidson said. “I have been around this Paso wrestling program for a really, really long time. Last year, actually, I didn’t get to wrestle. I had a Labrum tear, unfortunately, so this is my season back and a win at home is always great.”

Davidson very nearly earned the Bearcats’ lone pin of the night in the waning seconds of the third period when he had his opponent trapped beneath him, battered and out of breath. After 15-plus seconds of fighting to get his shoulders to the ground, Davidson decided to instead take the last few seconds of his Paso Robles regular-season career to soak in the atmosphere, looking up at the crowd, smiling. He even had enough time to shoot a sly wave to his family before the final buzzer chirped.

Paso Robles’ Cameron Davidson looks into the crowd in the final seconds of his match Wednesday. (photos by Connor Allen)

“I was waving to my family and everyone that supports me, shows up to all my matches, wakes me up in the morning to go to lifting, just people who have my back,” he said.

Six Bearcat wrestlers earned victories Wednesday night, including Cole Reymond, Jacob Marmalejo, Ian Rodriguez, Jake Morones and Davidson. Of the six victories, Reymond (113 pounds) was the most dominant. The sophomore came out on fire, earning two takedowns and a nearfall in the first period before adding one more of each in the second. A little too aggressive of a shot gave his opponent some life in the third but not enough as Reymond won 14-7.

Paso Robles junior Jacob Marmalejo and Pioneer Valley’s Brandon Andrado faced off in the 120-pound weight class.

After the first two minutes, Marmalejo had earned two points by converting Andrado’s attempted shot into a two-point takedown of his own. Both wrestlers aggressively pawed at each other and tied up firmly on the neck throughout the match but an Andrado near fall late in the second put the pressure on Paso in the final two mins.

Paso Robles sophomore Cole Reymond in control.

Following a one-point penalty that was assessed to Pioneer Valley, Marmalejo found himself needing two points to force overtime and with less than 30 seconds he blasted a double-leg takedown, tying the match and sending it into sudden-death overtime.

“When I got the first double, I thought that I got it pretty well and the coach told me in overtime to just get a double,” the junior said. “And that’s what I had to do and that’s how I won the match.”

Just moments after the official blew his whistle, Marmalejo had Andrado’s feet above his head as he fell back to the earth and the crimson mat below him, earning the 7-5 victory. The win sent the surprisingly full Gil Asa Gymnasium to their feet as parents and spectators from both teams applauded the effort of both boys.

“It means a lot when the community comes out and supports,” Paso Robles co-head coach Nate Ybarra said following the match. “Obviously wrestling is not as popular as football or basketball but we are growing year-by-year with the community and hopefully, we will still have wrestling at the elementary school and middle school levels.”

Following Davidson’s match, Paso Robles held a 20-9 record but were able only to win one more of the six matches to come dropping the dual 43-23.