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Pride just short of tournament title
Wrestling pic 1
Garrett Fortado, right, was one of three Turlock High wrestlers to finish with an individual title at the Central California Conference Championships on Thursday. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
Adam Vasconcellos had one of those rare feelings, and he had a tough time describing it.
The Pitman High wrestling coach was all over Turlock High’s Bulldog Arena near the end of the Central California Conference Championships on Thursday, trying to wrap his head around what was tough to even imagine at the beginning of the season. His Pride were close to a tournament title.
But they came up short. Actually, 4.5 points short. That was the difference between winning the whole thing and settling for second place. The Pride had to accept the latter, finishing behind Los Banos High before the Tigers drop down to Division IV and join the Western Athletic Conference.
“I don’t think we could have wrestled any better,” Vasconcellos said.
His squad had plenty to celebrate, as the Pride finished with five tournament champions — Andrew Perez (137 pounds), Robert Vasquez (141), Gustavo Verver (189), Jaime Lemus (217) and Pablo Guerrero (heavyweight) — for 202 points, not to mention they also qualified 10 wrestlers, who had to place in the top four, to compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships at Lincoln High in Stockton on Feb. 19-20.
Afterward, Vasconcellos talked about that bittersweet feeling of topping the school’s previous best finish of fourth in the league tournament but not winning it all. “It hurts a little,” he said. “You think about one match here, one match there. You win and you might win the whole thing. We have bigger goals.”
That’s to keep this season — which included the school’s first ever dual win over Turlock — going.
“Our kids aren’t tired and we’re not ready to be done,” Vasconcellos said. “We got hurt a little here and there, but we’re not frustrated. I’m proud of our kids.”

Turlock falls short of top 3

It’s been a tough season for the Turlock Bulldogs, who failed to capture their 10th CCC title in 11 years, though their dual losses were only by single digits. On Thursday, they set out to prove that they’re one of the toughest tournament teams around.
The Bulldogs had three champions in Garrett Fortado (105), Fabian Garcia (119) and Brandon Egleston (127), in addition to sending eight wrestlers to the divisional championships.
Turlock tied for fourth with Buhach Colony High with 172.5 points, behind third-place Golden Valley (178 points).
“It’s not bad for the season we had,” Turlock coach Mike Contreras said. “I can’t complain. Our kids are going to keep working. We’ve got eight guys. We’re going to see how many are going to advance to the Masters.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.