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Balderas, Sanchez capture titlesm at home event
Gabe Balderas can check another accomplishment off his to-do list.

The Ceres High senior grappler placed first at the 47th Annual Ceres Invitational for the first time.

Balderas, a two-time state-meet qualifier, compiled a perfect 3-0 record on his way to claiming the 120-pound crown on Saturday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"He was pretty excited to get that under his belt," head coach Jon Nowicki said. "It's a good start to the season. The only thing he's missing is a state medal."

Gabe won by pin (1:56) versus Central Valley's Michael Manzur in the finals.

He also beat Beyer's Trevor Lemings (pin, 1:12) and Modesto High's Andrew Williams (technical fall, 18-3).

Balderas, Ruben Sanchez, Gabriel Solis, David Cisneros, Bruno De La Torre, Micah Young and Rudy Gonzales helped lead the Bulldogs to a fifth-place finish in the team standings (123).

Hughson (186.50), Modesto High (169.50), Beyer (158.50) and Central Valley (154.50) took first, second, third and fourth, respectively.

Ceres High did not compete at full-strength due to injuries and eligibility issues.

The Bulldogs were missing six key wrestlers.

"I have no complaints," Nowicki said. "The kids that were there wrestled real tough. I really think we're headed in the right direction."

Sanchez finished first in the 220-pound division.

Ruben won all three of his matches.

He beat Central Catholic's Ryan McClean (decision, 8-1), Central Valley's Marcus Rodriguez (decision, 12-5) and Linden's Dakota Steinkamp (decision, 3-2).

"Ruben had a great tournament," Nowicki said.

Solis (2-1) placed second at 138 pounds.

Gabriel collected wins against Hughson's Samuel Sexton (pin, 3:35) and Summerville's Jed Glazier (decision, 7-6).

"He did a great job too," Nowicki said.

Cisneros (152s, 3-2), De La Torre (126s, 3-3) and Young (113s, 2-2) all placed fifth.

Gonzales (285s, 1-3) was sixth.