By John M. Sherrard
(Walnut, CA) After a one-year absence, the Mt. SAC Wrestling Team has re-captured the SCWA Southwest Conference championship with a 22-12 dual win over rival Cerritos College Wednesday night.
Mt. SAC upped its dual record to 10-3 overall and a prefect 4-0 conference record.
The two teams have traded titles the last four years with Cerritos winning in 2014 and '16 and the Mounties in 2015 and '17.
The match featured 14 wrestlers, which are ranked in the top ten in the state by the California Community College poll (CACC).
The match started with a 17-6 major decision win by Mt. SAC's John Whisner in the 125 Lb. weight class. Whisner, ranked No. 8, held a slim 5-4 lead after one period but outscored No. 4-ranked Messiah Owens, 11-2 the next two periods for the easy win. Whisner also received a point for a 1:32 riding time and Mt. SAC took the early 4-0 lead.
Cerritos returned the favor in the 133 Lb. weight class with a 9-4 decision, including a 1:05 riding time, by No. 4-ranked Josh Brown over Julian Melecio to trail the Mounties 4-3.
Joseph Dominguez, who usually wrestles at 149 Lbs. and is ranked second in the state, took a 7-1 decision at 141 Lbs. over Cerritos' Nick Camacho, who is ranked No. 2. Dominguez, who had a riding time of 3:08, gave the Mounties a 7-3 lead after three matches.
Mt. SAC's Manuel Salcedo (149 Lbs.) extended the lead to 10-3 over Cerritos with a come-from-behind win over Falcons' No. 7-ranked (141 Lbs.) Devin Daugherty. Trailing 7-5 entering the third period, Salcedo scored two take downs and an escape for five points and won by a decision.
Cerritos, who finished 3-1 in conference, closed the gap to 10-6 with a decision by No. 2-ranked Wyatt Gerl (157 Lbs.) over Mt. SAC's Joseph Valdez (No. 8).
With the match half over and the outcome and title still up for grabs, the Falcons came within a point, 10-9 with a 5-0 decision in the 165 weight class.
The match of the night went to Mt. SAC as No. 4 (165 Lbs.) Matthew Mejia went into overtime for the 8-6 win with a 2-point takedown in the 174 Lb. match. The Mounties took a 13-9 lead with four matches remaining.
No. 1 state-ranked Hector Vargas (184 Lbs.) took a 10-5 decision, which was highlighted by three takedowns and a reversal for the 16-9 advantage.
The Falcons made one last attempt at the title with a 7-4 decision by the No. 2-ranked 197 Lb. wrestler, Ethan Bakker over Mt. SAC's Luis Melecio to trail 16-12.
And the championship came down to the heavies! Gabe Herrera (285 Lbs.), after a 0-0 first period wrapped up the title with the only pin of the night at 4:37 of the second period for the 22-12 victory.
And the celebration was on!!!!
The Mounties will next be in action on Sunday November 19 in the Road Runner Open at Cal State Bakersfield.
Follow Mt. SAC Wrestling on twitter @MtSACWrestling
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.