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Masters Wrestling: Turlock, Pitman advance seven to State
masters Wrestling 1
Isaiah Perez (220) of Pitman High won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament this past weekend from Stockton Arena. - photo by Journal file photo

A total of seven wrestlers from Pitman and Turlock High will be advancing to the California Interscholastic Federation State Tournament after a strong turnout in this past weekend’s Masters Meet from Stockton Arena.

Each school crowned a champion after Pitman’s Isaiah Perez (220) and Turlock High’s Breck Jeffus (182) won their respective brackets in convincing fashion.

“So happy for Breck. He made it one of his goals to be the SJS champion,” said Turlock head coach Mike Contreras. “He has had to overcome a lot of injuries this season. He needed all six minutes of that match to make it happen. He was down two with less than a minute to go before getting a takedown to the kid’s back to win it 8-5. It shows his toughness and determination.”

“Isaiah dominated the bracket,” said Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos, “finally getting healthy. Nothing breaks your confidence like a serious injury and when he got hurt in December, it hurts a lot but he worked great to get healthy and in the last weeks he has been working and in the best shape he has been in and we will have a legit shot this weekend.”

Pitman placed sixth as a team with 119.5 points and Turlock followed in seventh with 97 points.

 “Awesome finish, first, second and third, 119.5 team points, took second last year, D-I AA runner ups, and sixth this week,” said Vasconcellos. “I am super proud of them, had some bumps during the year, but the kids put it together when it counted, true sign of champions, very proud of our kids.”

“Top 10 finish at SJS Masters is always a good thing. The fact that we got five medals out of nine wrestlers also a nice way to cap Masters,” said Contreras. “Disappointed that we were not able to advance a couple more kids, but SJS is tough and the margin for error is small.”

There was a total of 22 wrestlers competing at Masters from Turlock and Pitman combined, and one from Hilmar High.

Two went undefeated as champions in Perez and Jeffus, who were 5-0.

Turlock’s other representatives who will be moving on are William Giron (106) and Mike Jeffus (HWY). Pitman’s other representatives include Brendan Tallent (195), Kendall La Rosa (145) and Sammy Silveira (132).

Sophomore Silveira had a fantastic tournament after he won his first four matches, paving his way to the finale where he lost, 3-0.

Tallent concluded his senior year at Master’s with a third-place result, winning the consolation bracket with a 5-1 record. La Rosa finished third in his bracket with a 5-1 record.

Mike Jeffus went 6-1, placing third while sophomore teammate Giron took third with a 5-1 record.

“I feel like they gave themselves a great opportunity by finishing first and third. We will see their draw. They will be ready and our expectations are to come home with three medals,” said Contreras. “CIF State is one of the toughest state tournaments in the nation. Our boys have to be on their ‘A’ game for sure.”

“We are happy with it, obviously, we are trying to tie every year but when we lost Izzy we knew we lost a qualifier we wouldn't have,” said Vasconcellos. “We knew that if we had four it'd be a great year. Some of the other kids went well going 2-2 and it was nice to score over 100 as a team in a super tough tournament, our whole team battled; it was exciting.”

The CIF State Tournament will run for two days from Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield starting at 9 a.m. Friday.