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Moreno becomes first female Bulldog state wrestling winner
Alexia Morena State Champion
Turlock High’s Alexia Moreno pinned Santa Fe High’s Tamara Tillman in 119-pound championship match in the CIF Girls State Tournament for the title. - photo by Photo Contributed

For a moment, Alexia Moreno thought it was going to be over. The Turlock High junior wrestler had this notion during the second period of her 119-pound championship match in the CIF Girls State Tournament at Lemoore High.

But she quickly recovered.

A few moments later, Moreno celebrated Turlock High’s first-ever girls state title after pinning Santa Fe High’s Tamara Tillman in the third round of Saturday’s finals. By then, she already had a 9-3 advantage.

The win also puts aside Moreno’s runner-up finish from last season.

“It was surprising for me because I didn’t think I was going to do that well,” she said about her title run. “There was a time during the match where I was going to my back and I thought it was going to be over. It means a lot to come out with a win on that one.”

That’s not to say Moreno didn’t dominate. Her coach, John Belew, would argue that she did, in fact, rule her weight class.

Unlike some of girls at last weekend’s state tournament, Moreno competes against and practices with boys.

“Alexia went in there and dominated the tournament from day one,” Belew said. “Even in the finals, she pretty much handled the girl. It was 7-2 going to the third round and she decided, ‘Hey, I had enough. Now, I’m going to pin her.’ The word that would describe her is domination.”

In the two-day tournament, she finished with three pins and one technical fall.

Moreno will now aim to win a national title. And people who know her believe that she’s fully capable of it.

This season, she became the first female wrestler in Turlock High’s storied wrestling history to compete at the varsity level. And she did well, finishing with a 26-12 record (with only eight of the wins against girls), to go along with a third-place finish at the Central California Conference Tournament and a sixth-place showing at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships.

Next year, Moreno wants to become a three-time Section championship in the girls division and, of course, successfully defend her state title.

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