NU’s Sauer repeats as section champion
FOLSOM – The Sac-Joaquin Section finals were held Friday and Saturday at Folsom High School, and although sections brought the end of the season for many, including Bear River which had none of its four wrestlers advance, they brought good fortune for Nevada Union.
Of the eight Miner wrestlers who qualified for the Folsom tournament, three advanced to the state tournament.
Heavyweight Wade Sauer, who won the 215-pound section title last year, defeated Hogan’s Marcus Moore 7-1 to win second straight section crown.
Teammates Luke Manuel (121 pounds) and Drew Maraglia (137) also finished in the top five in their weight classes, exactly what they needed to go to Bakersfield next weekend for the final wrestling showdown of the season.
Although Sauer clinched a berth to the state championship earlier in the tournament, he was still faced with a problem.
Last week at sub-sections, the pneumonia-struck Sauer lost by a point to Moore. Even with a rare loss for the top-rated heavyweight in the state, Sauer took third.
Would there be any other way to end the section tournament than to have the two meet up a again?
The wrestling gods did not seem to think so.
As it would to most people, pneumonia must have had a role in Sauer’s loss a week ago, because it was obvious from the sound of the first whistle that he had the advantages of skill and quickness that led him to beat Moore 7-1.
“It feels good, but it’s what everyone expected,” Sauer said. “Last week I was lucky to take third. I was lucky to wrestle.”
Sauer also expects to be state champion come the end of next week, assuming he can keep from catching a cold before competing with the best of California.
The Miners are about more than their heavyweight, though, as is coach Shane Valdez, whose focus is broader than his superstar.
“Our goal is to get more than just Wade to state,” Valdez said.
Taking two other wrestlers is just what Valdez had in mind, but now it is time to stop thinking about the road to Bakersfield – it is time to focus on what will happen there.
“We won’t (practice) real hard this week,” he said. “Our guys are ready.”
Manuel and Maraglia faced elimination entering the final round, Saturday. Both were competing for the fifth spot, and a win would earn them just that.
Manuel stepped to the plate first, and was able to survive, winning a decision 7-3, after suffering a loss the match before.
Maraglia, a junior, showed how badly he wanted to advance after being denied his two previous years. All of the time he has spent training revealed itself as he pinned the opposition with little trouble.
“I’ve trained super hard,” Maraglia said. “I’ve been focused on wrestling – making it the number one priority.”
Apparently, he could not care less that he will enter next weekend’s competition as the lowest seed from the section. All he wanted was to qualify.
“It’s awesome. It’s been my goal for the past three years,” he said.
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