It didn’t take too long for a tone to be set for the Atascadero High wrestling team Tuesday night.
In the first matchup of a PAC 7 dual against arch-rival Paso Robles, the Greyhounds’ 160-pounder, Elijah Jackson, pinned Colton Madrigal 41 seconds into the third round.
Atascadero, which started the day ranked No. 3 in the latest CIF-Southern Section Division 1 poll, went on to beat the host Bearcats 43-19 before a standing-room-only crowd at Asa Gym, likely paving the way toward a sixth consecutive unbeaten season against league competition.
“It was fun,” Jackson said. “It’s like the Super Bowl in here, especially when it’s Paso and Atascadero. It was wild.“It was good to set the tone,” he added of his opening win.
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Atascadero (11-1, 5-0 PAC 7) also got pins at 112 pounds from Michael Clemmensen (in a minute and 34 seconds), at 140 from Cullen Joy (2:51), at 145 from Garrett Rose (3:08), and got a technical fall to conclude the dual at 152 from Paul Woodman (4:21).
Claiming decision wins for the Greyhounds were Matt Duccasse (9-2 at 189 pounds), Andrew Bittle (6-2 at 215), Travis Wessel (10-1 at heavyweight) and Jordan Gottfried (9-1 at 119).
The best bout of the night came at 171 pounds, where Paso Robles’ Cesar Delgado took down Stephen Trockman 16 seconds into overtime for a 6-4 win.
The Bearcats (7-1, 3-1) got a pin at 103 from Zach Holmes (in 1:48). Winning by decision for Paso Robles were Ryan Miller (7-2 at 125 pounds), Kevan Garcia (15-5 at 130) and Brady Zubia (7-3 at 135).
The Greyhounds’ five-year-undefeated streak in league has been kept safely intact so far, with earlier PAC 7 scores to the tune of 77-6 over St. Joseph, 74-3 over Pioneer Valley, 59-24 over Arroyo Grande and 78-3 over San Luis Obispo.
Those matchups featured numerous forfeits, with the Greyhounds’ depth clinching the outcomes before they even got under way.
Between 75 and 90 grapplers practice on a daily basis for Atascadero, with the varsity competitors mixing in with the lower-level hopefuls.
“It’s nice to have the depth,” Jackson said. “We have the starting 14, but everyone in the room pushes that 14 to be that 14.
“It makes a difference,” Jackson continued. “Some schools just kick their 14 out and just wrestle with all the JV first, and then the varsity, but that’s not how we do it.”
Greyhounds coach Jeff Spiller also credited the overall depth for all the success.
“We know that some kids need a place on campus,” Spiller said. “Our goal with the younger kids is to get them in the program and get them to have a good time, and then, who knows? Maybe we’re going to hook them.
“Everybody has a role in the room,” he said. “I think that’s what’s made us solid the last couple years.”
Earlier this year, Atascadero won the team title at its own 20-school New Year’s Revolution Tournament.
In its statewide rankings posted Jan. 13, TheCaliforniaWrestler.com listed Atascadero third in the “others” category following its overall Top 40 teams. The website also ranked Jackson No. 11 in the state at 152, Trockman No. 20 at 171 and Clemmensen No. 25 at 112.