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Bulldogs qualify four for Section tournament
Turlock wrestling pic1
Turlock High’s Fabian Garcia, right, gets ready to battle Golden Valley High’s Julian Terry in the 125-pound title match of Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships at Gregori High in Modesto. Just a few seconds later, Garcia pinned his opponent to claim his third consecutive divisional title on his way to another Masters Tournament berth. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal

MODESTO — Once he took off his trademark hat and his warm-ups, it didn’t take very long for Turlock High senior wrestler Fabian Garcia to be crowned a three-time champion at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships on Saturday night.

His coaches, Mike Contreras and Lewis Gonzalez, didn’t exactly coach because, well, they didn’t have enough time to do so. Once the referee blew the whistle to commence the 125-pound title match in front of a large crowd at the new Gregori High gym, it only took 1 minute, 24 seconds for Garcia — also a three-time state medalist — to pin Golden Valley High’s Julian Terry.

“I wrestled him before,” said the soft-spoken Garcia, “and he was always trying to back up, so I was trying to not let him do that so much and make sure he doesn’t go out of bounds, trying to keep him in the center.”

It was his fourth pin of the tournament.

“That’s how he has wrestled all season for us,” Contreras said. “That’s what we expect from Fabian. I expect more from him next week.

“And hopefully, the next week after that.”

First, the coach is referring to this weekend’s Section Masters Tournament at Stockton Arena, with the championship matches expected to begin Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Garcia will be aiming for his third straight Section title.

And after that, it’s the CIF State Championships.

“I want to keep going,” Garcia said. “I want to take first at state. That’s my big goal right there, to take first at state. I’m just training real hard because I know there’ll be tough matches from now until state.”

He was one of four Turlock wrestlers to qualify for the Masters after finishing in the top five of their weight division, with the others being sophomore Jason Valdovinos (fourth at 103), senior Brandon Egleston (second, 130) and freshman Albino Orozco (second, 145).

The top seven at the Masters will move on to the state meet, where anything goes.

“We’ll go with what we got and the four that we have are solid,” Contreras said. “I like our chances. Hopefully, we can get four to state.”

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