Lincoln pins a loss on Whitney for a road win

Zebras’ wrestlers prevail, 30-39
By: Joshua Gutierrez/Lincoln News Messenger
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When T.J. Bolden made his way to the mat in a dual meet with Whitney, Lincoln had lost its 21-6 lead. In spite of recently being moved up to varsity, Bolden jumped at the opportunity. His relative inexperience never showed.

A little more than a minute into the match, Bolden (182 pounds) pinned the Wildcats’ Connor Griffin. That gave back the lead to the Zebras and gave Lincoln the momentum needed for a 39-30 win.

 “I knew what I needed to do,” said Bolden. “I was in the right place at the right time and was able to cradle him.”

Another matchup that captured the attention of both audiences were fan-favorites Gabrielle Eslinger of Lincoln and Whitney’s Maddy Fitzgerald.

In the 126-pound event, the first period began with neither scoring a point. Fitzgerald struck first with a takedown and near fall, but Eslinger rebounded for a 5-4 lead.

Eslinger kept up the pressure as the clock ticked away. With both pushed to their limits, Fitzgerald escaped a near takedown but her revival was short lived. Eslinger was able to walk off the mat to the sounds of cheers and a 7-5 victory.

Early on, Lincoln’s Ryan Ojeda (113) helped kick-start an 18-point run. The freshman was surprised by an early takedown by the Wildcats’ Joe Perry but kept his poise and sprung a reversal.

With 30 seconds left in the first period, the technically-sound Ojeda pinned Perry to give Lincoln its first lead of the night.

Eslinger, Landon Croisant (145), and Jaden Martinez (132) each went the full six minutes to win their matches on points.

Joseph Palencia (120) may have had the most impressive performance by not allowing his opponent a single point. When Palencia reached 15 points he was declared the winner, giving Lincoln an additional five points.

After the meet, Lincoln co-head coach Jay Foster spoke about his team’s poise in the face of coming in with multiple injuries in the lineup. It was stressed to each wrestler to focus on his or her match at hand and not get distracted by the score.

“You need to step up,” said Foster to his athletes before the dual meet. “Don’t let anything else affect you but your match and your wrestling.”

Whitney High School Wrestling

Lincoln 39, Whitney 30

Dual Match Results, Dec. 12


106 – W-Kitchens def. Freymond 19-4 (W-3, L-0)

113 – L-Ojeda def. Perry, fall (L-6, W-3)

120 – L-Palencia def. Nakano, Tech-fall (L-11, W-3)

126 – L-Eslinger def. Fitzgerald 7-5 (L-14, W-3)

132 – L-Martinez def. Schroeder 16-4 (L-18, W-3)

138 – W-Rialon def. Leyva 8-6 (L-18, W-6)

145 – L-Croisant def. Benjamin 17-14 (L-21, W-6)

152 – W-Gomez def. Higman, fall (L-21, W-12)

160 - W-Bleakley def. Bennett, fall (L-21, W-18)

170 – W-Jacopi def. Serra, fall (W-24, L-21)

182 – L-Bolden def. Griffin, fall (L-27, W-24)

195 – W-Fast def. Magee, forfeit (W-30, L-27

220 – L-Smith win by forfeit (L 33, W-30)

Hwt – L Pentoja win by forfeit (L-39, W-30)