Granite Bay tops Woodcreek in wrestling, locks up berth in section team duals

Oakmont edges Casa Roble in CVC finale
By: John Parker/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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In a sport that’s equal parts individual and team-oriented, Granite Bay High School received what it needed in both phases in a 53-15 win at Woodcreek in a Sierra Foothill League wrestling finale Wednesday night.

Grizzlies sophomore Spencer Ferguson made a splash in his varsity dual debut by pinning Woodcreek senior Brandon Poni at 170 pounds.

Ferguson, who won a wrestle-off earlier in the week to replace an injured David Miller, trailed Poni 6-0 inside the final minute. Then, with Poni seemingly on the verge of another takedown near the edge of the ring, Ferguson reversed his momentum and got Poni’s shoulders down for a lightning-quick pin.

Fans on both sides of the bleachers were stunned.

“I attempted to move him several times, but he wouldn’t let me,” Ferguson said. “But then I finally got it. … It felt amazing.”

Granite Bay (4-1 SFL) led 23-15 going into the bout, and a major decision for Poni would have closed Woodcreek’s deficit to four.

“Spencer doesn’t stop,” Grizzlies coach Robert Cooley said. “You can’t coach that kind of heart.”

Dane Mortensen put Granite Bay on the ledger first with a 6-0 decision over Chad Merigold at 106 pounds. Woodcreek’s Jimmy Gomez (113) responded with a pin of Keaton Donald, followed by a 7-3 decision for the Timberwolves’ Cameron Young over Chris Gallegos at 120 to give Woodcreek a 9-3 lead.

“We still knew it would be an uphill battle,” Timberwolves coach Doug Mason said. “Right now, we’re just focused on individuals, getting them to wrestle their best matches.”

Sean Brown (126) pinned Jacob Swethurst, and Shane Saylor earned a 4-1 decision over Cody Blanco to give the Grizzlies a 12-9 lead. Swinging the early seesaw the other way, Woodcreek’s Austin Mason won a 10-3 decision over David Flinders.

“That’s wrestling,” Cooley said. “(Woodcreek) came out ready to go, as they should. That’s the way it oughtta be in the SFL.”

Ian Mook pinned Michael Cantini 40 seconds into the 145-pound bout to give Granite Bay an 18-12 lead on the way to clinching second place in the SFL behind 14-time league champion Del Oro (5-0) and earning a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Duals on Saturday at Stockton-Lincoln.

Saturday’s tournament will be the final time teams in all divisions compete in the dual format before individual postseason tournament competition begins Feb. 17.

Granite Bay placed second to Bella Vista in the team duals last season and then won the Division II section crown two weeks later.

Save for Miller, the Grizzlies are healthy heading into the team duals, and Cooley expects a strong showing.

“We’re going in there to win it,” he said. “We never expect to not do well.”

Nevada Union 42, Roseville 27 — The Miners (1-4 SFL) avoided going winless in the SFL by beating the Tigers (2-3) in Grass Valley.

Roseville registered four pins — by Logan Ash at 106, Austin Ash at 160, Austin Finerty at 170 and Ryan Fratto at 220 — and 126-pounder Brandon Fratto won a 6-0 decision over tough Will Sumner.

Oakmont 37, Casa Roble 36 — Peter Santos keyed the visiting Vikings’ close win over the Rams with a 16-4 major decision over Blake Matis. Santos overcame an early takedown by Matis with a reversal and ended the first round with a three-point near fall.

It was a great way to end our dual season, and we are all looking forward to the upcoming postseason,” coach Dave Wells said of Oakmont, which went 3-2 in the Capital Valley Conference.