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Area wrestlers shine at annual clashing

Turlock takes team title; Pitman, Hilmar impress

Area wrestlers shine at annual clashing

Pitman High's Mario Aguirre, right, wrestles Buhach Colony's Aaron Osmer in the 171-pound championship match of the Bulldog Classic on Wednesday.

POSTED December 30, 2010 9:19 p.m.

Before the first wrestlers stepped on the mats at the 19th Bulldog Classic on Wednesday, Turlock coach Mike Contreras wasn’t sure about how his team would do.

“I honestly wasn’t sure we were able to win the tournament,” he said.

So he was delighted when he saw the final team standings: Turlock, with 10 wrestlers in the top six, captured the tournament title with 178 points, 16.5 more than runner-up Pitman High.

The Pride had all seven wrestlers finish with individual medals (top six).

Hilmar had Devin Azevedo finish as the heavyweight runner-up, as two of his teammates also placed in the top six.

Some of Turlock’s highlights include sophomore Jason Valdovinos (103 pounds) and seniors Fabian Garcia (125) and Brandon Egleston (130) winning their weight classes. Garcia won the Outstanding Wrestler award for the third time and became a four-time tournament winner.

“This is a good indication of the hard work these younger kids are putting in for us,” said Contreras about his team’s tournament win, first one in three years.

Pitman also had some standout moments with three champions in Emilio Savaadra (112), Lance Reyes (119) and Andrew Perez (140). But it was Savaadra who made the day’s best impression. The freshman beat Los Banos senior and state qualifier Kendal Klette, 6-4, in the title match.

“Emilio trains for big matches,” Pitman coach Adam Vasconcellos said. “He looks forward to it. He hustles, he works so hard and he looks for competition. Some people cut weight to avoid people, but he looks for the good wrestlers and he wants to wrestle them.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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