Now that a date has been settled on, the Bret Harte and Calaveras high wrestling teams can get down to settling more important matters.
Like county bragging rights and the Mother Lode League championship.
The highly-anticipated rematch of last year’s down-to-the-wire dual match between Bret Harte and Calaveras, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was pushed back a day and will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in Angels Camp.
The delay means one more day for the excitement that has been building since Bret Harte’s 34-33 victory in San Andreas last year to spread.
A large crowd is expected in the Bret Harte gym.
“You should be able to cut the energy in the air with a knife,” Bret Harte coach Nathan Vader predicted.
Just like in almost every year since 1980, the winner of Thursday night’s cross-county dual match will be crowned Mother Lode League champion.
Calaveras had won six consecutive MLL titles before losing to Bret Harte last season in a match that wasn’t decided until then-sophomore Justin Dillashaw scored a dramatic 8-7 victory in the 103-pound match over Brian Rutledge in the final match of the night.
“I’ve had a lot of people come up and ask me about the match since last year,” said Dillashaw, who will likely face off with Rutledge again on Thursday night in the 112-pound match. “It was definitely really cool to be a part of it.
“I think it’s going to be another really close match. I just hope it doesn’t come down to me again.”
Calaveras senior Chris Watson said the memory of last year’s loss has been a driving force in the Redskins’ wrestling room all season.
“It was a tough loss, very disappointing,” Watson said. “But that was last year. This is a new year. We want to get that section title back and we’ve been working really hard, especially the seniors and the juniors that were here last year. Losing to Bret Harte motivated us a lot. It’s been a big part of what’s pushed us this year.”
On Saturday, the Bullfrogs and Redskins will both travel to Pitman High in Turlock to take part in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V team dual championships. The winner of Thursday’s dual will take the MLL’s No. 1 seed at the section duals. Calaveras won six straight section titles before falling to eventual champion Central Catholic in the semifinals last year. Bret Harte reached the finals.
Contact Jeremy D. Malamed at email@example.com.