Whitney’s late surge not enough to win dual with Lincoln

Young Wildcats advance on learning curve
By: Joshua Gutierrez/Placer Herald Correspondent
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The Whitney High varsity wrestling team made a late surge to take the lead from Lincoln in a dual meet but in the end it wasn’t enough. The Wildcats eventually fell at home 39-30 last week.

Both teams came in with new talent. The Fighting Zebras had five starters out with injuries. That set the stage for a meet that could go either way.

To start the match, Whitney’s Kenny Kitchens wrestled Lincoln’s Austin Freymond in the highest scoring match of the night. Kitchens headed into the final period 13-10 and went on to give his team a 3-0 lead.

Lincoln then stormed back with 18-unanswered points to take a commanding lead.

Whitney’s Justin Rialon (138 pounds) helped slow the Zebras in a match with Daniel Leyva. It would be decided in the final seconds.

As both athletes looked for an opening, Levya picked up three points getting a near fall. Rialon erased that with a reversal to tie the match with a minute remaining.

Although the Lincoln wrestler escaped for a late lead, Rialon came back with a takedown for the win. That started a string of pins for the Wildcats.

Andrew Gomez (152), Sean Bleakly (160), and Jack Jacopi (170) each won their matches with falls in the first period. Whitney then picked up two forfeits making the 182-pound match a crucial one.

However, Lincoln’s T.J Bolden came up with the victory to all but seal a Zebras’ win.

Whitney’s Rialon, Kitchens, Bobby Benjamin, Maddy Fitzgerald, Jacob Schroeder each wrestled the full six minutes and earned three pins to Lincoln’s two.

Despite the loss, Whitney head coach Dan Parker chalked up the narrow loss as a learning experience for a number of his untested varsity athletes. Although there were mistakes made, Parker commended his squad for trying some new techniques rather than playing it safe.

 “When you make a mistake when you’re trying, I can live with that,” said Parker. “Overall … I’m happy with their performance.”