The Gators, ranked 20th in Division II, got off to a rough start when Vicente Aboytes lost by a technical fall, 19-1, against Bakersfield’s Anthony Box in the 157-pound weight class, but rebounded well, defeating the Division I Runners 20-16 due to strong performances by Daniel Flores in the 141-pound and Dylan Phillipy in the 149-pound weight class.
The team was less successful in the second half of their final home dual meet of the season, dropping their match 22-10 against the Lancers of Cal Baptist in a rematch from December, which the Gators lost 19-15.
“We beat Cal State Bakersfield for the first time since 1973 I think, so that was pretty good,” said head wrestling coach Lars Jensen. “The second (match) we didn’t wrestle so well.”
Phillipy won his first match against Erik Martinez by technical fall, 16-0, but suffered a close loss against the Lancers’ Dylan Cataline, 7-6.
“I feel like our team really stepped up a lot today,” Phillipy said. “We won our first dual meet [match] in a couple months against Bakersfield. That was huge, it boosted the team morale in general.”
The second meet began with Aboytes losing against the Lancers’ Bronson Gerl 6-2, putting the Gators down 3-0, a deficit they would fail to overcome. Flores, Isaiah and Zach Jimenez were the only three to earn wins against Cal Baptist, all of whom went 2-0.
“Against Bakersfield we came out attacking and it showed. We never let up,” said assistant coach Jeff Silveira. “I think beating a Division I team might have affected our performance [against Cal Baptist], we came out a little flat in that second match.”
In between matches, the Gators honored their three seniors, Anthony Gonzalez (285-weight class), Arman Ostadsharif (174-weight class) and Julian Perez (133-weight class).
Gonzalez won his first match in a 10-4 decision against Bakersfield’s Frankie Hurtado, helping the Gators comeback against the Runners, but lost his second against Cal Baptist’s Zach Merrill by a 12-2 major decision. Gonzalez escaped with his fair share of bruises in the process.
“I need to be more balanced. I was a little out of shape, I’m going to bust my ass the next couple weeks,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a heavyweight match, you get banged up.”
Like Gonzalez, Ostadsharif won his first match, beating Bakersfield’s Jesus Ambriz in a narrow 3-2 decision, but fell short in his second match against Cal Baptist’s Kenneth Tribble 4-0.
“In the second match I wasn’t as offensive as we work on in practice,” Ostadsharif said. “I need to pick it up there. I just have some little things to work on.”
The team has a short turnaround after the split dual meet before competing in the California Collegiate Open Saturday at the home gym.
“It’s going to be a tough tournament tomorrow, there are some good schools coming,” Ostadsharif said. “I’m pretty excited.”