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Turlocks dual loss means crucial showdown with Pitman
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The Turlock High wrestlers didn’t get the win that they needed against Golden Valley High on Wednesday night, but the Bulldogs were still pleased with the results.

By winning eight of the 14 matches at the girls gym on the Turlock High campus, the Cougars earned a 38-29 victory over the Bulldogs to take sole possession of first place in the Central California Conference standings with a 4-0 record.

Both teams entered the contest with undefeated league marks.

For the Bulldogs (3-1 CCC), the loss came despite another good showing from their proven wrestlers. Julian Talamante (135 pounds), Walter Hernandez (171) and Fabian Garcia (125) all came through with pins, while Brandon Egleston (130) earned a technical fall and Jason Valdovinos (103) and Omar Flores (189) each finished with a decision.

“We wrestled well,” Turlock coach Mike Contreras said, “but just didn’t come through in a couple of weight classes where I thought we had a good shot.”

But Turlock still has a shot at a co-championship, if the Bulldogs can come away with a victory over crosstown rival Pitman High on Wednesday night and the tournament team title at the CCC meet on Feb. 10.

Wednesday’s meeting between Turlock and Pitman — which will be held at Turlock High — should be another classic, considering what’s on the line.

The Pride, also 3-1 in the CCC, are coming off a 43-27 win over Buhach Colony High earlier this week. And they’ve been able to find success despite boasting a shorthanded lineup all season because of injuries.

The Bulldogs had an opportunity to take over the CCC, but the matches just didn’t go their way. Contreras said junior wrestler Alexia Moreno appeared to be in position to lose by decision — which would’ve saved some points in the end — but got caught up in a cradle in the last minute of the 119-match against Ben Weber, considered Golden Valley’s best wrestler.

Contreras also said freshman Gibson Silew “could have lost by a decision but got thrown and pinned in the last period” of the 215-pound match.

“Give credit” to Golden Valley, Contreras added. “They wrestled well and were able to pull out some key victories when they needed them. Their experience prevailed over our youth. The future looks bright for the Bulldogs.”

Before Wednesday’s crosstown rivalry showdown at 6 p.m., Pitman and Turlock wrestlers might face each other at today’s annual Rumble in the Jungle at Pitman High starting at 9 a.m. It’s the last regular-season tournament before the postseason.

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.