No official team scores were kept in the five dual meets the first-year Guadalupe-based McKenzie Intermediate School wrestling team competed in this season.
If they had been, the Bobcats would have run the table.
"Official team scores aren't kept, but we would have out-scored all our opponents," McKenzie assistant coach Gilbert Robles said before McKenzie hosted Nipomo-based Mesa Middle School Friday night in the Guadalupe City Hall auditorium.
The Bobcats would have won that meet, too. The co-ed McKenzie team won 10 of the 15 regular matches. Mesa, which also has a co-ed squad, won six of the eight exhibition matches.
The McKenzie program started just three months ago. "We thought it would be a good way to try to keep the kids off their phones, off their tablets," said Robles.
"We competed in the San Luis Obispo County League," said Robles. "The league meet will be in about a week-and-a-half.
"There are six teams this year - one in Morro Bay, two in Paso Robles, one in San Luis Obispo, one in Nipomo (the Mesa squad) and our team.
Robles said, "As far as I know, we are the only junior high wrestling program in Santa Barbara County."
"There are 14 weight classes in our league, from 74 to 220 pounds," Robles said. "At times, our girls have wrestled against boys because the other team didn't have enough girls. And at times, our girls have won."
There were multiple all-girls matches Friday night. There was one match in which a Mesa boy wrestled against a McKenzie girl, and one in which a McKenzie boy wrestled against a Mesa girl.
The first-year McKenzie program is 25 wrestlers strong. "I'm very pleased with the turnout we've gotten," said McKenzie head coach Clemente Moreno.
The Mesa program had a strong turnout Friday night as well, with what appeared to be 25 Mesa wrestlers.
Sign up to receive headlines in your inbox!
Breaking News | Local Sports | Daily Headlines | Local Obituaries | Weather | Local Offers
The McKenzie team has several assistant coaches, including Gilbert Robles, Gilbert's son Kaleb Robles, Cristobal Gonzalez and former Santa Maria High School wrestler Anna Rodriguez.
Though the McKenzie program started only a few months ago, at least some of the Bobcats wrestlers have been wrestling for years, in the Guadalupe youth wrestling program.
Those include eighth grader Isaiah Mendez, who wrestles at 128 pounds, and seventh grader Gustavo Avila, who competes at 92 pounds. Both of them won their matches Friday night.
"I've wrestled for eight years. I wrestled in the old Guadalupe youth program," said Mendez. "I don't think the program is around anymore.
"What I really like about wrestling is that it's a contact sport. I just give it my all."
Avila said, "I've been wrestling for seven years. What I like about wrestling for a team is wrestling in a match for your team, hanging out with my teammates."
McKenzie seventh grader Jailynn Jose is unbeaten this year, as is her teammate, Aniah Martinez.
"I've been wrestling for a while," said Jose. "I just like the competition."
Martinez won twice Friday night, in a regular match and in an exhibition one. The other McKenzie winners that night included Mendez, Avila, Jose, Dominic Avila, Isaac Gonzales, Damian Hernandez, Dylan and David Limon, Michael Uriah Mendez and Gerardo Arellano.
The atmosphere Friday night was festive. Rooters filled the spectators chairs that were provided. In fact, the crowd was standing-room only. There was a snack bar.
Matches consisted of three rounds of one minute each, though the vast majority of matches ended with a win by fall for a wrestler for one side or the other. One point was awarded to the opponent whenever a wrestler was tagged with a locking hands violation, as is the case in high school matches.
Wrestling among the Santa Maria Valley high schools has been booming. Multiple Santa Maria Valley teams have won sectional divisional championships within the past few years.
"We hope to spread our program to the junior high schools in the Santa Maria- Bonita School District," said Gilbert Robles.
Kenny Cress is a sports reporter for the Santa Maria Times, covering local sports in northern Santa Barbara County. You can send information or story ideas to him by emailing it to KCress@SantaMariaTimes.com.