Seniors, youngsters shine for Reedley wrestling

Pirates boys picks up eight pins to overpower Kerman in home dual meet finale, TCC tournament scheduled for Feb. 2 in Kingsburg

Reedley High’s Kenzie Herrera ane Kerman High’s Chanel Sanchez prepare to square off in the varsity girls 120 pound match at Reedley High on Jan. 24. Herrera and Joselyn Alejandre (140 pounds) posted wins for the Pirates in a 30-18 dual loss to the Lions. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published January 25, 2024  • 
11:00 am

REEDLEY – Reedley High’s senior stars posted their expected strong performance Wednesday night, but young wrestlers also stepped up big as the Pirates varsity boys capped off Senior Night with a convincing dual meet victory.

Powered by eight pins  — including first period falls by ranked seniors David Arroyo and Demetrius Vargas — Reedley rolled to a 54-30 win over visiting Kerman at Reedley High gym. The Lions scored a 30-18 win in the varsity girls matchup.

Coach Pablo Saenz was happy with the showing by his veterans, but was especially pleased by pins from three freshman wrestlers. Cristian Bustos (108 pounds), Jonah Rusca (122) and Vladimir Cuellar (152) also registered falls. Junior Logan Rodriguez (177 pounds) picked up a pin in his first varsity appearance, Daniel Baker (128) and Izaac Olivas (140) also won by fall while the Pirates collected a forfeit win.

“We’re a very young team, but we’re not only young, we’re varsity young and we’re showing that we’ve got the resolve to take it through,” said Saenz. “Kerman spanked us last year, so it was nice to answer back this year. Our big guys performed, our medium guys stayed off their backs and our young kids really shined.”

Reedley High’s varsity and JV wrestlers and coaches pose for a photo following the Pirates’ home dual against Kerman High. The varsity boys won by a 54-30 score while the girls dropped a 30-18 decision. (Jon Earnest)

As expected, the Pirates’ two veterans were at their best. Arroyo — ranked 18th in the state through mid-January in his weight class after placing sixth in the Central Section last season — made quick work of Kerman’s Manuel Alverenga to score a pin in the first period. Vargas — ranked 35th in state and a weight class champ at the California Classic in December — needed just more than a minute to finish off the Lions’ Diego Cruz at 159 pounds.

For the girls, Kenzie Herrera (120 pounds) and Joselyn Alejandre (140) collected pins while Jocelyn Ochoa (115) won by forfeit for Reedley.

Before the varsity matches, Reedley High honored its seven senior boys wrestlers along with scorekeeper Michelle Tovar. Receiving recognition along with their families were Arroyo, Gabriel Esquibel, Isaiah Heredia, Marco Hernandez, Olivas, Zach Tristan and Vargas.

The Pirates have one more dual, at Kingsburg High on Jan. 30, then prepare for the Tri-County Conference Tournament in Kingsburg on Friday, Feb. 2. After that, the team will prepare for the divisional and Central Section Masters Meet later in the month.

“They’re very good, better than they have been in a while,” Saenz said of the Vikings. “So we’re going to go there and we’re gonna battle. It’s according to plan and everything is falling into place. Now, we’ve just got to peak at the right time and it looks like we’re okay.”

Jon Earnest