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THS wrestlers prepare for national freestyle event
Albino Orozco holds his opponent in a cradle position moments before a win during this seasons four-way tournament. - photo by Journal file photo

This year’s wrestling season was one to remember for Turlock High. The Bulldogs finished with an undefeated league record, a CCC Championship, a Division I South Championship, and sent four wrestlers to the State Tournament. Freshman Isaac Bertalotto and sophomore Albino Orozco played a big part in Turlock’s successful season, proving that a young team and a championship team weren’t mutually exclusive.

With their high school season well behind them, the Bulldog pair is now preparing to take their wrestling skills to Fargo, ND where the National Freestyle Tournament will be held from July 11-22.

“It’s important for these athletes to get national exposure,” Turlock’s head coach Mike Contreras said. “The more that they are exposed to top level competition the greater the chance they have to wrestle in college. Being an All American is great to have on your resume.”

Bertalotto and Orozco’s resumes are already quite impressive, especially when you consider their ages.

As a freshman, Bertalotto led the Bulldogs with 51 wins while earning a league and divisional championship. He placed 7th at the Masters tournament and became the third freshman in Turlock history to qualify for the state tournament where he went 3-2 and missed a medal by only two matches. He qualified for the National Freestyle Tournament with a 3rd place finish at the Cadet Freestyle Tournament and a first place finish at the Junior Freestyle Tournament at 138 pounds.

In his second year as a varsity wrestler, Orozco won 39 matches, won his second league championship, earned his first divisional championship, and qualified for the Masters tournament for the second time in his career. He qualified for the National Freestyle Tournament with a 2nd place finish at the Cadet Freestyle Tournament at 160 pounds.

“I expect them to do well. They haven’t stopped wrestling since the season ended in March, so hopefully the training pays off and they can become All Americans,” Contreras said. “It’s an awesome opportunity but it’s a challenge to raise the money.”

In fact, the only thing that stands in the wrestlers’ way is the cost to travel and compete in the tournament, which is an estimated $1,400 each. The Turlock Wrestling Club has already donated $250 to each wrestler but that’s only a drop in the bucket. Bertalotto and Orozco are now relying on the community to help with the rest. A charity car wash has been scheduled from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.  June 16 on Geer Road and a Casino Night fundraiser is currently in the works.

For more information or to make donations, contact Mike Contreras at 678-7240.