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Rumble in the Jungle: 3 Bulldogs and a Yellowjacket finish as champions
Turlocks Albino Orozco controls his opponent from the top. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal


The eighth annual Rumble in the Jungle at Pitman High saw 595 wrestlers compete in 748 matches over the course of 11 hours on Saturday. When all the mats were cleared and the tournament ended Turlock High emerged as team champions, accumulating 220 team points. It was the Bulldogs’ fourth tournament title this season.

“I didn’t expect to win the tournament with four of our best kids sitting out,” Turlock’s head coach Mike Contreras said.

Even with a shorthanded roster Turlock sent five wrestlers to the finals. Albino Orozco, Erick Parsons, and Ernesto Guiang earned gold medals in their respective weight classes and Ricky Flores and Ricardo Garcia finished with silver. The two second place matches were close ones, decided in the third period by two points or less. Turlock also has three fourth place finishers, Isaiah Mendoza, Julian Talamante, and Zach Grimes, as well as a third place finish with Omar Flores.

Host Pitman High also entered the tournament with key wrestlers on the sidelines. The Pride were unable to overcome the absence of Kyle Martinez, Logan Wolfley and Braulio Cordero, however, and finished in 15th place with 63 team points. Still, Pitman was able to earn two fourth place finishes with Mark Bennett and Nick Roditis.

“I was happy to at least see a Turlock school win,” Pitman’s head coach Chris Wolfley said. “I was also happy to see three CCC teams take first, second and third.”

Golden Valley High took second and Atwater High took third.

The Tri Valley League was also represented well on Saturday as Hilmar High finished in sixth place with 119 team points. Despite only having eight wrestlers in the tournament, four Yellowjackets found themselves in the finals. Mathew Labass finished in fourth place, Antonio Melo earned a bronze medal, Jorge Aguilar snatched a silver medal and Tyler Juncker walked away with gold.

“The boys are starting to peak at the right time,” Hilmar’s head coach Howie Tremble said. “We were expecting some good places.”

Denair High was also involved in the Rumble but only had three wrestlers involved, resulting in a 24th place finish for the Coyotes.

To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.