Turlock High is still undefeated in the Central California Conference with Wednesday’s defeat of Buhach Colony High in the third dual meet of the season. But while the Bulldogs walked away with the team victory, it was anything but easy as the Thunder played it close in a 41-30 final.
“I hadn’t seen Buhach, or matched up with them, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” head coach Mike Contreras said. “We’ve got to be happy that we’re still undefeated in league, but we know we have our toughest matches ahead of us.”
Turlock kicked off the dual with back-to-back pins by Fabian Gaona and Rafael Herrera in the 126-pound and 132-pound divisions, respectively, and a 9-5 decision victory by Ricco McCombs in the 138-pound division before being handed its first loss of the night via pin in the fourth match of the dual.
Buhach went on to win four more matches, including the final three of the night, for a total of six individual wins, four of which came by way of pins.
In comparison, the Bulldogs tallied a total of eight match victories and recorded only three pins —Goana, Herrera, and Albert Gonzalez. Thankfully for Turlock, its wrestlers managed to earn extra bonus points off of a pair of major decisions by the Orozco brothers, Albino and Andres, in their respective 170-pound and 153-pound divisions while also picking up a forfeit.
“For us, any bonus points are big,” Contreras said. “We know if we don’t give up bonus points we’ll be able to compete with Pitman and Golden Valley.”
One of Turlock’s biggest bonus-points contributors this season, Isaac Bertalotto, didn’t compete against the Thunder as he was sidelined with an injury for the second week in a row, though his absence wasn’t detrimental to his team on Wednesday. But, with duals against top tier CCC teams Pitman and Golden Valley High on the horizon, the Bulldogs will likely need their standout junior to complete a league title run.
“We’re hoping for him to return next week,” Contreras said of Bertalotto. “But like I told the kids, it’s got to be a team effort. If one guy goes down we have to all step up.”
Turlock takes on the rival Pride next Thursday in what will likely be the determining dual for this year’s CCC crown. The two cross-town squads will get a chance at early scouting, however, as both will compete in tomorrow’s Mid-Cals tournament in Gilroy.
“Of course we’ll be watching and I’m sure they’ll be watching us,” Contreras said. “They seem eager to go up against us and our boys are fired up as well. We’re looking forward to it and I’m sure they’re looking forward to it, too.”