The Turlock High School Bulldogs took home the Division-II Sac Joaquin Section Team Dual Wrestling Championship title for the first time in school history over the weekend, defeating Bella Vista in the finals on Saturday afternoon.
While the school has scored past blue banners in the SJS individual tournament, Saturday’s victory in Sacramento was the first time the Bulldogs have gone all the way in duals after making it to the finals in previous years. It was the team’s first chance to compete in a section tournament in two years after the 2020-2021 season was cancelled due to COVID.
“We’ve always finished runner-up. It’s just nice to win a section title no matter what, whether it’s duals or the individual tournament,” head coach Mike Contreras said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for our program and these boys have been working their tails off. I’m really happy for them that they get to be the first in Turlock history to pull that feat off.”
Through Turlock’s two duals, the Bulldogs only lost five matches. The team wrestled St. Mary’s in the semifinals and defeated them 72-9, and pulled off the victory against Bella Vista in the final by a score of 52-21.
“That’s a pretty dominant performance,” Contreras said. “We won by over 30 points in the final and you just don’t usually see that. The boys did a really great job.”
The SJS dual tournament’s format was different this year due to COVID, with only the top team from each league able to participate. In normal years, the top two teams go to the tournament. Because of COVID, Turlock has wrestled in and won just one league match so far this season against Gregori and is 12-3 in dual meets and non-league competition.
Next, the Bulldogs, Pitman High School and the rest of the Central California Athletic League will face off at Gregori High School on Friday to determine the league champion. Contreras also believes that the entire team will qualify for next weekend’s Divisional tournament thanks to their success.
“We feel very confident going into Friday, as long as everybody stays healthy and hopefully passes this next round of COVID testing,” he said. “The boys were very disappointed not to be able to compete at home against our crosstown rival, but the league title hasn’t been decided yet and we still have work to do.”