STOCKTON The first day of the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters wrestling meet provided a peek into the future of the sport in the area.
Two local freshmen flexed their muscles in the early rounds of the CIF state qualifying meet Thursday at Stockton Arena.
Jake Minshew of Casa Roble High School had the best day among ninth-graders.
The state's No. 36-ranked 220-pounder scored a pin in just 1:11 of his first match and then dispatched Cosumnes Oaks' Josh Davis with another first-period pin.
"I wasn't too nervous," Minshew said, "even with so many tough competitors."
Then came an encounter with seventh-ranked Josh Letuligasenoa of Elk Grove High in the quarterfinals.
Minshew hung tough and took a brief lead in the second period with a takedown before Letuligasenoa scored a reversal to take the lead.
Minshew tweaked his left knee with 30 seconds to go but was able to finish, falling 8-2.
"I was impressed with how he fought through to the end," said Letuligasenoa, who clinched his second straight state trip.
"He's strong for a freshman."
Folsom freshman Mason Koshiyama, ranked 27th at 138, won a close 4-2 decision over Vista del Lago junior Troy Grossi before getting pinned by Bella Vista junior Shayne Tucker, the state's top-ranked 138-pounder and defending 130-pound section champion.
Minshew and Koshiyama still can advance to state with two victories each today.
Koshiyama chalked up his loss to a learning experience.
"You never know what can happen," he said of facing top competition. "You can't go into a match thinking you might lose."
Not that meets like this are new for Koshiyama. He has wrestled since second grade and has competed in the youth ranks at the state and national level.
"You just have to get through the mind block," Koshiyama said. "We all have the same skills; it's just who wants it more."
Koshiyama rebounded with a pin and a decision in his next two matches.
Great escape Ponderosa heavyweight Jeff Camili won perhaps the most thrilling match of the day, which also happened to be the last.
The junior, ranked 13th in the state at 285, defeated Foothill senior and state No. 3 Michael Lowman with an escape in sudden-death overtime of their quarterfinal match to earn a state berth.
"The goal all year has been to make state," he said. "New goal is to place at state."
Forfeits abound Thirteen wrestlers, including five in the 152-pound class, either did not make weight or pass a groom check, resulting in immediate forfeits.
In addition, four competitors arrived late, also resulting in their disqualification from the tournament.
Team standings Vacaville leads the team ledger with 113.5 points.
Elk Grove (101.5) and Folsom (86) round out the podium.