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Riverbank Pins Down First Dual Win
The determination on Javier Gaxiola's face was unmistakable as the Riverbank High grappler squared off with Modesto Christian's Dillon Tarvin in the final match of a varsity dual meet on Jan. 25. Trailing MC by three points, Gaxiola knew he needed a one-sided win for the Bruins to capture their first taste of team victory this season. And he didn't disappoint. The senior heavyweight wrenched Tarvin to his stomach in the opening moments of the match and secured a pin just a minute and two seconds into the bout. The fall awarded Riverbank six team points and a climactic 42-39 victory over visiting Modesto Christian. The match represented Riverbank's first dual meet wrestling win of the season.

"I was thinking 'just win'," Gaxiola said afterwards. "It felt real good to help the team get our first win all year."

Riverbank gave up a forfeit at 115 pounds and suffered pin losses in five of the 14 weight classes. The team was spotted 24 points from Modesto Christian forfeits and capitalized on three total first round falls. Ruben Lopez secured the first Riverbank pin when he tossed Nick Shamp of MC onto his back with a head and arm throw just 37 seconds into his 122-pound bout. Junior Tovar followed suit with the same early throw, but squeezed tight to pin MC's Zack Schott in just 22 seconds.

"The head and arm is something that is probably one of the last moves you would normally think to go to, but it was the first move tonight," Bruin coach Martin Ugalde said. "If the guy is going to give you that then take it, and two guys on our team happened to do that. As long as it works then you should use it."

The Tovar pin left Riverbank trailing just 27-24, but a pair of Crusader falls gave MC a 39-30 lead with two matches to go. A forfeit to Tim Sterling brought Riverbank within three points and Gaxiola finished the job in the night's final match. Modesto Christian held an advantage in the team score until the Gaxiola's pin, but Ugalde didn't let the scoreboard sway his expectations.

"Before that last match I was pretty confident that it was in the bag," Ugalde said. "I knew that Javier was going to beat him and we were going to get our first win.

"To get that first win is really cool and it gives the kids something to look forward to."

Victor Machuca, Ryan Stiner and Jose Arias also received forfeits from Modesto Christian. Jose Martinez wrestled tough in a key 140-pound showdown with Crusader team captain Matt Harper. Harper nabbed an early lead but found himself trailing after a gramby-roll reversal gave Hernandez a 6-4 lead in the second period. Harper rebounded with third round back points, but couldn't secure a pin. His 10-6 win over Hernandez gave MC just three team points. In a match where Riverbank won by just three, the match was crucial.

"I thought Jose had a great performance," Ugalde said. "Overall they all looked good and played a part in an inspiring win for the program."