The Central California Conference is known for many sports, but on Wednesday night, Turlock and Merced High battled it out on the mat as both wrestling squads proved why they are some of the top competitors in the state.
Merced came into Turlock with three of their top wrestlers out due to injuries and the Bulldogs took advantage any way they could. Despite giving up unnecessary bonus points to the Bears, the Bulldogs won by 10 points with a score of 42-32.
“Merced is tough, and I knew they were going to be tough. We were fortunate, like I told the guys, that they had a couple of their big wrestlers out of the lineup,” Turlock head coach Mike Contreras said. “Our guys battled, but one of our biggest things was giving up bonus points. We gave up way too many bonus points tonight, so that’s something to work on.”
Eight total wins was enough for the ‘Dogs who managed to come away with a forfeit win and three pins added on by four decision victories.
The closest match of the day was in the 145-pound weight class after Sean Souza of Turlock and Lawrence Anderson from Merced battled it out for three periods.
It was brutal as both wrestlers transferred hard blows to the head and rough take downs. Souza prevailed in the end, winning by decision with a score of 4-3.
“A win is a win and we have to give credit to Merced because they came out and wrestled tough with being depleted. Good for us, bad for them,” Contreras said.
With top wrestler Isaac Bertalotto out due to a banged up knee, Turlock knew they would have a tough task at hand.
“Isaac banged up his knee in Escalon. We are hoping to get him back next weekend, so we’ll see. It’s a day by day and he is doing treatment every day on it. Nothing too serious so hopefully we get him back soon,” Contreras said about Bertalotto’s injury.
Next for the Bulldogs varsity wrestling team will be another CCC dual matchup at home against Buhach Colony at 7 p.m. Wednesday.