There is a whole fraternity of Bakersfield High wrestlers, coaches and fans alike that did not want to see the streak end, but maybe none more than Izzak Olejnik and Frank Lomas.
Lomas was a junior for BHS the last time the Drillers lost a league dual match back in 2007 to Foothill.
Lomas remembers losing a crucial match 11 years ago when the Drillers fell to the Trojans in a dual meet, but still won the league title that season.
Olejnik, the senior leader for BHS this season, didn’t want to feel that same pain.
The Drillers defeated Frontier on the road, 27-24, to win their 11th consecutive Southwest Yosemite League boys wrestling title. It’s the 21st league title for BHS in the last 22 years.
“I am pumped about that,” Olejnik said. “I didn’t want to come in here and lose and have these guys lose, too. I am just trying to lead the way for them and hopefully next year they can keep this streak going.”
Olejnik did his part early, pinning Frontier’s Christian Landin at the 1:06 mark of the first period. The 145-pound bout was the first match of the night.
“I wanted to lead by example, get the fall and get off the mat and get some momentum going for us,” Olejnik said.
That’s exactly what Lomas asked for from his senior leader.
“I went out there and told him, ‘First 15 seconds, you stay offense, offense, offense,’” Lomas said. “He needed to dictate that match. He needed to work hard for a pin. In this atmosphere, he gets motivated and he went out there and did it.”
It was a festive night. The Frontier gym was packed to a standing-room only crowd with a light show, music blaring and the Frontier wrestlers entering the gym through a giant inflatable mascot.
BHS won the first three matches and had a 12-0 lead before Trent Tracy got the Titans on the board with a 7-0 decision at 170 pounds over Jordan Annis.
Frontier began to get back into the match at the lower weights after BHS took a 21-6 lead following Josiah Hill's two-point take down over Grant Bryant as time expired in the third period at heavyweight.
Josh Acala beat Mosess Flores 8-2 at 106, and Noah Ozuna was awarded a six point forfeit at 113, as the Titans cut the BHS lead to 21-15.
Cole Reyes, the No. 4-ranked wrestler in the state at 120, pinned BHS freshman Bade Lucio at the 1:02 mark of the second period to tie the team score 21-21.
Just when it seemed the momentum was swinging in favor of the Titans, Angel Rosales beat Jose Landin 3-2 at 126. The Drillers then grabbed three more crucial points before Andrew Bloemhof beat Garrett Fletcher 9-2 at 132, securing the title for BHS.
“Our guys just came out and fought,” Lomas said. “We won matches that were the borderline matches where they could have won, or we could have won. That’s what really tilted the score a little bit. It was a lot of fun.”
Of the 27 wrestlers on the mat on Thursday, 15 are ranked in the top-8 in the Central Section, according to The California Wrestler, with four matches pitting two of those ranked wrestlers against each other.
“This is not what we want to be known for, we want to be successful in March,” Lomas said. “But it is great, we want to keep winning. Our biggest goal is for March. But this gets us ready with good, hard matches to get them ready. It’s great that we won and it got our guys ready for the next month.”