Wrestling 2023
TVL champs Perez, Vasquez, Thornsberry and Reisz lead Hughson wrestlers into postseason meet at home

Led by TVL champions Nicholas Perez, Daniel Vasquez, Cooper Thornsberry and Breckin Reisz, the talented Hughson wrestling team will be back in action this week when it hosts the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V meet.

The Huskies qualified 12 wrestlers for the two-day meet, which begins Friday in the old and new Hughson High gyms. The top 40 small schools from the Section – which stretches from Merced County to Sacramento and Napa east to the foothills – will send their best athletes to Hughson. The top four wrestlers in each weight class after Saturday move on to next week’s Masters meet in Stockton, the final step before the State Tournament two weeks from now in Bakersfield.

Headlining the Hughson contingent will be Perez (35-5), a 152-pound junior who has recorded 22 pins this season and has won three tournaments, including the TVL meet last weekend. He made it all the way to the State meet as a sophomore.

“He’s definitely peaking,” praised Coach Joey La Rosa. “Nicholas is at his best when his pace is high and he creates the action to score points. It’s like a machine and when the machine is on, stay clear while in use.”

Vasquez (23-15) is a 195-pound senior who was named Outstanding Heavyweight after claiming the TVL title last week. Amazingly, this is his first year on the wrestling team.

“He’s a natural winner,” said La Rosa. “He’s kind of wild. He gives us a heart-attack sometimes. His matches are high scoring. He pinned a kid from Hilmar last week who was supposed to beat him.”

Thornsberry (21-7) is a senior 140-pounder who was named the Outstanding Middleweight at the TVL meet. “He’s had a great year for us,” said La Rosa.

Reisz (21-14) is another senior who La Rosa said “is coming on strong at the end of the year.” Reisz won the 134-pound title last week.

Hughson had four other wrestlers finish second last week – freshman Landon Mason (21-11) at 108 pounds, freshman Caleb Parshall (7-10) at 128 pounds, junior Brady Kline (19-15) at 160 pounds and junior David Burns (14-9) at 170 pounds.

Hughson’s other qualifiers for the Division V meet are freshman Logan Dekleva (7-17) at 122 pounds, senior Jesse Rodriguez (8-16) at 145 pounds, senior Aden Tomlinson (10-12) at 182 pounds and senior Sam Caulkins (13-15) at 220 pounds.

La Rosa is pleased with how the year has gone. The Huskies were 4-1 during the TVL dual meet season, losing only to first-place Escalon. And they were third in the Section Dual Meet tournament two weeks ago behind only Sutter Union and Escalon.

“We’ve got a good mix of older guys and younger guys,” said La Rosa. “I think we’ve really stepped up our performance as a program.”

In addition to the work ethic of his wrestlers, La Rosa is quick to credit his assistant coaches for their help. His staff includes his father Joe and younger brother Conner in addition to Phil Tubera, Carson Hatch and Garret Hicks.

“Surrounding the program with great help has been huge,” La Rosa said. “The boys are becoming a family toward the end of the year. We love them and have prepared them for battle.  We are ready to watch them achieve goals they set in November.”

Action starts Friday at 11 a.m. There will be three mats in the new Hughson gym and one in the old gym. The finals should begin about 3 p.m. on Saturday. There is an entry fee to watch either day.