The Turlock and Pitman high varsity wrestling teams are headed to the upcoming Masters Meet with high hopes after strong showings at the Sac-Joaquin Section Divisional Tournament this past weekend.
Fresh off a Central California Athletic League title following the regular season, the Bulldogs took home second place at Divisionals and will advance 10 wrestlers to Masters this weekend. While some key wrestlers for Turlock were out for Divisionals due to illness, the team anticipates continued success at Masters.
“I was really proud of the boys. They did a fantastic job at listening to the coaches and executing our game plan,” Turlock head coach Mike Contreras said. “It was pretty impressive.”
Heavyweight Ashton Patterson won the 285-pound weight class, and Turlock medaled in six other weight classes with just one fifth place finish.
“Ashton deserves everything that’s come his way,” Contreras said of Patterson, who recently committed to play football for the College of Idaho. “He’s a hard worker and he always gives his best effort. It’s really hard to get where he’s at, so it’s great to see him succeed.”
Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos said that the Pride’s female wrestlers, Lilly Avalos and Alana Ontiveros, are the best competitors on the team. They both proved that this weekend by each winning gold medals of their own, and Achilles Clarke also brought home a first-place finish for the boys in the 220-pound weight class after winning two tournaments in the weeks prior.
“They set the tone in the wrestling room, and these girls train with the boys and are just dominant,” Vasconcellos said. “And Achilles is just at a different level with his work ethic and it’s paying off tenfold.”
The Pride finished in fourth place at Divisionals and will advance nine boys and two girls to the Masters. The results from Divisionals were more than Vasconcellos could have hoped for with such a young team, he said.
“The fourth-place finish is actually pretty good, considering we graduated a lot of wrestlers last year,” he said. “We’ve been really good for quite a long time, but this year we had a lot of new kids coming in and they really overachieved.”
Five Pitman wrestlers who had qualified for Divisionals are competing for the first time ever, he added, and three are headed to Masters: Emmanuel Lopez, Milo Rucker and David Jimenez.
“Our kids are going to be ready to wrestle as hard as they can,” Vasconcellos said.