King City Mustangs’ 160-pound wrestler Brooks Hearne goes for the pin against a Salinas High Cowboys wrestler during the team’s first dual meet of the year. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

KING CITY — It was back to the mats for the King City Mustangs wrestling team, which hosted the Salinas High Cowboys in their first dual meet of the season.

Since last season was canceled due to Covid-19, not many people knew what to expect from the King City wrestling program, not even Head Coach Stephen Stone.

”Like a lot of teams, we have a lot of freshmen and so you don’t know,” Stone said. “They are raw. They only have one year of experience, so that gets me really nervous.”

The Cowboys raised Stone’s uncertainty even more when the Mustang JV and girl wrestlers didn’t start off that well, as Salinas High was able to win the majority of the matches.

The Cowboys swept all five of the girls matches, including Salinas wrestler Ailynne Acosta, who is currently ranked second in CCS at 111 pounds, according to preseason rankings.

At the start of the dual meet, Salinas was already up 12 points because King City didn’t have wrestlers at 182 and 195 pounds. Neither team had a wrestler at 106 pounds.

The opening match at 113 pounds went to Salinas by pin, putting the Mustangs down 18 points in the early stages of the meet.

Up next was King City’s 120-pound Adrian Macies, who had never wrestled before but was able to hold off one of Salinas’ top wrestlers. The Cowboy wrestler ended up hurting her shoulder in the second period, pulling her out of the match and giving the victory to Macies.

“Adrian never wrestled before,” Stone said. “He took on Salinas High’s top girl. I wouldn’t doubt it if she goes and places in State this year. I watched that girl two week ago and she is phenomenal.”

After a year off due to Covid-19, the Mustangs’ wrestling team returned last week to beat Salinas High, 54-24. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

After Macies won, the Mustangs didn’t look back. King City rattled off eight straight wins by pins, increasing the score 54-18 and clinching the dual meet.

King City’s Dillion Barnes (126), Joseph Rivas (132), Alan Alonzo (138), Adrian Hernandez (145), Zander Banuelos (152), Brooks Hearne (160), Andy Pozzi (170) and David Pantoja (220) all won by pin.

The match of the night came at 160, when Hearne was in battle with a Salinas High wrestler who was up 5-9 after the first period. Both wrestlers displayed great strength by reversing multiple positions that could have led to a pin in the first period. Hearne was able to capitalize on the great position he was in and get the pin.

“I just wanted to go out there and put points on the board,” Hearne said. “It ended up going the other guy’s way. But I can tell during the second period, his conditioning started to wear down. So I went for the pin.”

The final match of the night was at heavyweights, when King City’s Dallas Metcalf found himself down 5-4 after the first period. The Salinas High heavyweight eventually won by pin in the second period, but Coach Stone was still encouraged by Metcalf’s performance.

“Dallas is a great heavyweight,” Stone said. “He’s still raw. It’s just the other kid caught him with a good headlock.”

King City beat Salinas High in their first dual meet of the year by the score of 54-24.

Stone talked about how his young wrestling team is going to take some time before they reach their potential.

“Wrestling for 34 years of my life, when I see a novice, I have to remember they are a novice,” Stone said. “So I have to teach the basic skills. But I believe in them. When you believe in your children, they will do spectacular things.”

King City Mustang wrestlers were successful in their first dual meet of the year, beating Salinas High and getting eight pins. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)
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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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