Another round of wrestling playoffs, another batch of Pitman High and Turlock High wrestlers advancing, this time to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament. And joining them at the prestigious tournament in Stockton will be a pair of wrestlers from nearby Hilmar High.
At the SJS Boys Divisionals on Friday and Saturday at Laguna Creek High in Elk Grove, the Pride and Bulldogs each advanced 11, with five combined Section champions.
For the Bulldogs, Ethan Ward (115) and Jeremiah Bertalotto (134) earned first place spots. For the Pride, Carter Vannest (162), Mason Ontiveros (172) and Achilles Clarke (222) were also crowned champions. Meanwhile, Ezra Dueñas (145) grabbed the lone championship slot for the Yellowjackets.
The Pride also saw success from the girls, which comes as little surprise as their deep female roster has some of the highest ranked wrestlers in the state. At the SJS Girls Regionals at Central Valley High in Ceres, Lilly Avalos (123), Baya Austin (128) and Alana Ontiveros (139) finished at the top of their respective podiums.
The Bulldogs saw Aliah Bertalotto (103), Heidi Judson (113), Leah Ladd (118) and Pearl Lucas (128) grab first place finished in the Girls Regionals.
While first-place slots were limited at each tournament, several wrestlers were still able to punch their tickets to Stockton.
Pitman’s Gabby Austin (P2-133), 115 lbs. R.J. Wilharm (P3-115), Alex Talemante (P2- 140), Elyjia Austin (P2-154) and Troy Ceja (P3-287) all placed, while top eight finishes for Abriel Padilla (128), Xadian Padilla (134), Kai Merafuentes (147) and Jeremiah Mora (184) also secured trips to the Masters.
On the Turlock side, Lauren Olvera (P2-123), Elijah Watson (P2-184), Isaiah Bertalotto (P3-134) Logan Ladd (P3-154) and Curby Dimond (P3-170) placed to clinch a Masters berth, while Jack Locke (122), Colten Mauksch, Kaeden Patterson (162) Nolan Ashbaugh (222) and Logan Durkee (287) joined them with top eight finishes.
Aside from Dueñas’ first-place finish on the Hilmar side, the Yellowjackets also saw a stellar showing from Cody Bray (195), whose third-place medal also has him packing for Stockton.
The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament will take place over two days, this Friday and Saturday, at the Stockton Arena. The top six place winners in each boys and girls weight class will qualify to the State Championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield from Feb. 23-25.