This was a turnaround year for the Turlock High wrestling program. After a dismal end to last season, the Bulldogs came back to win the Central California Conference tournament on Thursday to share bragging rights with Buhach Colony, which won the regular season duals.
“This is good for the kids to end on top. We had hoped to do well and we knew we wanted to win this and had a good chance, but we didn't really imagine it would be so quickly,” said Turlock head coach Anthony Gonzalez about the team's turnaround from a season ago.
For Pitman this was an unwanted turnaround season, as the Pride captured the CCC title last year and after Thursday's tournament finished fourth in league this year. The upside for Pitman is that the school will be sending wrestlers from all 14 weight classes on to Divisionals this upcoming weekend.
Overall it was a win for the town of Turlock.
“We did well. We qualified 13 guys for Divisionals and one alternate, so we will have all of our 14 weights with us next week which is good for us,” said Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos.
Pitman also had three champions in Adam Velasquez (132), Trevor Mattox (126) and Isaiah Perez (138).
Arthur Clemons (145), Colby Lankford (152) and Julien Barrera (HWY) all took second in the big showdown. Diego Basulto (195) and Anthony Carbajol (220) each placed third, respectively.
Turlock had a tremendous night, amassing 211 total points for the day. Pitman scored under 190.
“Everyone met their individual goals, we have 13 advancing to Divisionals,” said Gonzalez. “Everyone is satisfied because these kids kept surprising us and it is good to see us on top again. We all came together and the kids believed in themselves and in each other.”
Of the 13 wrestlers for Turlock, 12 of them placed third or higher. Lance Couchman (145) and Adelo Fields (182) placed fourth.
Andy Orozco (152) and Breck Jeffus (195) each took first place for the 'Dogs.
“Andy solidified that the first dual win was no fluke over Lankford of Pitman,” said Gonzalez. “And (Breck) Jeffus was able to pin his opponent in the final, which was great for us. Everybody wrestled well and did well. They proved and showed what hard work can do.”
Gio Villegas (108), Alex Ceja (132), Uriel Villasenor (160) and Manny Conde (120) all took third and Michael Marquez (113), Alex Olivera (126), Brady Egleston (138), Dom Silva (170) and Michael Jeffus (220) all placed second for Turlock.
“I am just glad the kids are doing well. I hate nit picking where to improve but I told the kids they can do better, they are doing great but there is always room for improvement for sure,” Gonzalez added.
Divisionals will be held at Lincoln High of Stockton next Friday and Saturday at a time yet to be determined.