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Four local wrestlers in contention for DV titles
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Hilmars Elijah Moon pins Denairs Joe Gallardo during Fridays SJS Division V Tournament, which was held at Delhi High. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Delhi High welcomed 26 Division V wrestling teams to its boys gym Friday morning to compete in the first tournament to ever be hosted by the Hawks.

Among the schools present were Denair High of the Southern Athletic League and Hilmar High of the Trans Valley League who, along with Delhi, found success on the mat and advanced a handful of wrestlers into the second day of competition.

For the Hawks, freshman standout Jesse Flores will compete in the semifinals of the heavyweight division, the furthest any Delhi wrestler has gotten.

“This is excellent for Delhi,” Delhi head coach Ray Cedres said.

For the Coyotes, sophomore Indiana Olave will compete in the semifinals of the 126 pound division.

The Yellowjackets will have two representatives in today’s semifinal round, 160-pounder Elijah Moon and 182-pounder,and defending Division V champion, Antonio Melo.

Denair and Hilmar will also have wrestlers competing in the consolation rounds with Luis Mendez (220) representing the Coyotes and Cody Renfro (154) and Shane Salles (126) representing the ‘Jackets.

“It’s a big jump for the program. I think both kids have a good chance at going to masters if they do what they did today,” Denair head coach Don Helnore said.

“I feel pretty good about it. I have two freshmen in the consolation rounds and I’m very pleased about that,” Hilmar head coach Bruce Scott said.

Delhi’s 264-pound heavyweight Flores made his way into the semifinals with a pair of convincing wins. His first win came over Marc Camarena of Escalon High via a 9-1 decision and his second came win via pin over Joseph Lara of Linden High in his second match of the day.

“People are really looking at him and talking about him. The coaches are impressed that he’s only a freshman and that he’s so quick on his feet,” Cesres said of Flores. “I’m hoping he can move on to the finals. That would be huge for Delhi; outstanding for him and us.”

As for Denair, Olave stayed alive with back-to-back pin victories over Nick Shamp of Modesto Christian High and Zachary Clements of Mesa Verde High.

“He’s wrestled the same all year, he’s a brawler,” Scott said of Olave. “He goes out there and gets into a big mess with the guys; he’s tough.”

The Coyotes’ other second-day wrestler, Mendez, fought his way into the consolation quarterfinals with bookend wins over Eligsha Garcia of Woodland Christian and Bobby Hughes of Hilmar. His only loss was dealt by Escalon’s Dominic Freeseha in the second round of the day.

“Luis has been on the verge the last couple years. He battled today to get to 2-1,” Helnore said.

Hilmar’s Division V semifinal representatives finished their first day of competition with a combined three pins and one technical fall.

Melo got his day off to a quick start with a pin victory over Delhi’s Thomas Cano before earning the technical against Miguel Perez.

Moon finished both his opponents via pin with Joe Gallardo of Denair High hitting the mat with his back first before Cameron Botkins of Vacaville Christian High was dispatched the same way.

“He (Moon) looking very dominate in both his matches, and so did Antonio (Melo),” Scott said. “I’m hoping all our tournaments and all the hard work we’ve done this year has prepared them for this moment. If they wrestle like they did today, I think they have a good shot at making it to the finals.”

Day two of the SJS Division V tournament begins today at 10 a.m.