Wrestlers from 23 schools, including Turlock, Denair and Hilmar High, crowded into Turlock’s Bulldog Stadium Saturday morning to compete in the 20th annual Bulldog Classic. After dozens of matches and more than nine hours of wrestling, the Bulldogs claimed their third tournament title of the year with a total of 18 and half points and three champions.
“We’ve gone to four tournaments and won three of them,” Turlock’s head coach Mike Contreras said. “I wouldn’t have thought that we would do that in the beginning of the year.”
Of Turlock’s 15 varsity wrestlers in the tournament, 12 finished with medals, six of which came in the finals including the three champions: Rafeal Herrera (126), Albino Orozco (152), and Ricky Flores (HWY). Of all the matches, Herrera’s championship matchup was perhaps the most exciting as he won 8-6 in overtime. His performance on the day earned him a handful of votes for outstanding wrestler.
“I’m impressed and very happy with our performance up to this point,” Contreras said. “We haven’t accomplished too much yet, we won some tournaments, but the best is ahead of us.”
Hilmar and Denair also walked away from Saturday’s tournament with successful performances. Tyler Junker (170), Kyle Silva (160) and Antonio Melo (HWY) all received medals for their efforts with Junker placing first, Silva placing third and Melo placing sixth. The Yellowjackets, who only had eight wrestlers in the tournament, finished seventh overall as a team. Denair’s Jeff Mendoza (152), one of only three Coyotes in the tournament, earned a fourth place finish.
Turlock, Hilmar and Denair will compete again Wednesday in league duals. Turlock will host Atwater High, Hilmar will host Modesto Christian High and Denair will host Mariposa High.
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