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Ceres High has a rich sports history.

Many consider Osvaldo Bertolotti the best all-around athlete. The 1971 graduate will be inducted into the Bulldogs' Hall of Fame next month, along with 34 players, two coaches and two teams from the past. Bertolotti played for Ceres' undefeated 1968 football squad that will also be recognized.

"It's going to be emotional," said Osvaldo, 55. "I'm just happy they considered me. It's one of the highest honors that I've had. It's better than winning state. But it would have never happened if I didn't have coaches and teammates that pushed me. The coaches had me believe I could accomplish anything I wanted."

Osvaldo earned 12 varsity letters, including four in wrestling and baseball, three in football and one in basketball.

"I just lived sports back then," Bertolotti said. "I never gave up and I was always in great shape. I loved the competition. Everything came easy to me. I don't know why."

Osvaldo was named Stanislaus County's top prep athlete by Modesto's Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club as a junior.

Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Russell was the guest speaker.

"It was a thrill," said Bertolotti, who posed for pictures with the 11-time NBA champion.

Osvaldo secured the award thanks to his dominant season in wrestling. He compiled a 55-0 record on his way to claiming 154-pound state, section, sub-section and league crowns. His team also won the section championship.

"It was my least favorite sport because it was the hardest," he said.

A member of Ceres High's varsity football program as a sophomore, Bertolotti contributed at wingback and cornerback. The honorable-mention selection's crowning achievement came in the second half of the Bulldogs' 7-6 Mountain Valley League title-clinching victory over host St. Mary's of Stockton.

Osvaldo caught a one-yard TD pass from quarterback Rex Holm and served as placeholder on kicker Kerry Machado's game-winning extra point. Ceres High finished 10-0 on the year.

"I was in heaven," said Bertolotti, who also led the Bulldogs varsity baseball club to a 19-6 overall record and MVL championship. "You don't expect nothing like that. There was really no pressure on me because I was so young. I was just a naive kid."

Osvaldo joined Ceres High's boys basketball team during his senior year. He started at point guard in his first and only season with the Bulldogs.

"I wanted to try something different," Bertolotti said.

Osvaldo received Most Valuable Player honors in Carmel, leading the Bulldogs to 4-0 record. He averaged 33 points per game.

"It was before the 3-point line too," Bertolotti said.

Osvaldo and his teammates traveled by bus to the season-ending tournament. He played in the first three games, then jetted in a four-person plane to Chico to participate in the state wrestling meet.

"I don't know who came up with the idea," Bertolotti said. "I couldn't say no. I had to go. My heart wasn't into it (wrestling) because I won everything my junior year."

After winning one of two matches, Osvaldo's brother-in-law and sister drove him back to Carmel for the championship game. The roadtrip lasted more than five hours.

"We made it back just in time," Bertolotti said.

Osvaldo's lone blemish in wrestling during his final season occurred at the state championships. He posted a 54-1 record on the year, winning section, sub-section and league titles at 165 pounds.

Bertolotti was also league MVP in baseball.

Osvaldo planned to go to Grays Harbor College in Walawala, Washington after graduating from high school.

He changed his mind after a Boston Red Sox scout knocked on his door and offered him a $5,000 contract.

Bertolotti spent several seasons in the minor leagues, advancing to Double-A Pawtucket of the Eastern League. Former Major League Baseball All-Star Jim Rice was his teammate.

"I lost interest after the third year," he said.

Osvaldo was just 3 years old when his family immigrated from Italy to California.

They lived in Modesto prior to moving into a house on the corner of Sixth Street and Roeding Road. That was the first of two places they lived at in Ceres.

It was during that time Bertolotti changed the spelling of his first name to Asvaldo. He said he used an "A" instead of an "O" because it sounded more American. He just wanted to fit in.

"When I was small, I didn't speak too much English and the kids razzed me," Bertolotti said. "They used to call me names all the time. That made me try harder because I wanted to show them I belonged. Sports was my outlet."

Martino, Osvaldo's son, is a senior at Ceres High School. He plays football, basketball and baseball.