Max Aguirre flexed his arms in a moment of pure adrenaline. It came in the middle of the mat, in front of a packed gymnasium at Bakersfield High.
The Frontier senior just pinned Jaden Sanchez in the first period in the 160-pound match of the much-anticipated Southwest Yosemite League boys wrestling dual meet on Wednesday night.
The win for Aguirre gave Frontier a 25-9 cushion and Aguirre, ranked No. 3 in the state at 160, felt the momentum and elation from the Frontier faithful that helped fill half of the packed gym.
Frontier held on and beat Bakersfield, 37-32, snapping a 30-year run for the Drillers of winning at least a share of league titles since 1988.
“My emotions got the best of me,” Aguirre said.
The Cal Poly-bound senior who medaled at the CIF State Championships last season, quickly turned to the BHS side of the crowd to show that he was sorry for showing up his opponent. Still, on a historic night, emotions ran strong on both sides.
“This is huge for us,” Aguirre said. “This has never been done before. To be a part of history is great.”
Both teams came into the match ranked in the top 10 in the state by The California Wrestler.
Led by state-ranked 182-pound No. 1 Trent Tracy, Frontier is ranked No. 7 while BHS is the 10th-ranked team in California.
Together, the programs have 18 wrestlers ranked in the top-40 in the state in their weight classes.
And the matches on the mat proved to be pivotal.
Frontier took a 15-0 lead early on with a 7-6 decision for Jay Appleton over Ashton Onsurez in the opening match at 120. Then with state-ranked No. 6 Cole Reyes winning by forfeit at 126 and Garrett Fletcher pinning Devonte Jennings at 132, the Titans were off and running.
BHS got on the board when No. 5 Andrew Bloemhof beat No. 10 Ryan Morphis, 7-4, at 138.
Then Frontier won three consecutive matches with Jose Landin getting a major decision (15-6) over Jacob Spears at 145 and Adrian Gonzalez pinning Marc Salinas at 152 before Aguirre’s emotional match.
BHS chipped away. At 195, Jordan Annis beat Ty Shepherd, 11-2, and Justin Darter held off a late push by Jack Pafford for a 1-0 decision that cut the lead to 31-20.
However, that was a crucial match. Had Darter pinned Pafford, BHS was still in the running to beat Frontier. The five-point differential was the clincher for the Titans, however.
“This is really fun. It’s a big deal for us to win this,” Tracy said.
The Frontier senior did not wrestle because BHS chose to forfeit at 182, instead having Annis go at 195. That left two state medalists for Frontier — Tracy and Reyes — along with BHS heavyweight Josiah Hill off the mat because of forfeits. Hill is the 7th-ranked heavyweight in the state.
“This is just the start of what our goals are,” Tracy said. “We really want to finish big at state. This is progress for us.”
Kirk Moore, who opened the Frontier program in 2006, handed over the reins of the program to Carlo Franciotti last season. The two sat side-by-side on the bench on Wednesday in the biggest dual victory in school history.
“It’s important for the program, the parents and the kids,” Franciotti said.