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Bridges fails to advance to section tourney
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Johnny Bridges' season came to an abrupt end at the Sac-Joaquin South Delta Sub-Section Tournament on Saturday at Golden Valley High School.

The Ceres High senior needed to finish in the top six in the 112-pound weight class to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Meet, to be held at Pitman High in Turlock this Friday and Saturday.

Bridges took seventh with a 2-2 record.

"It was the most unreal feeling," Bridges said. "It hurts."

Added Ceres assistant coach Josh Leslie: "I felt bad for him. His career at Ceres High is over."

Johansen's C.J. Cota edged Bridges 9-7 for sixth place.

"It was a big upset," Bridges said. "In my eyes, I should have won."

Bridges defeated Cota 15-10 at the Modesto Metro Conference championships. They split during the regular season.

The fourth and most important meeting went down to the wire.

"Each time I wrestled him, he got better," Bridges said. "He knew what was coming. He was cautious and waiting for me to make a mistake."

In the third period, Bridges evened the score at 7-all when Cota was called for stalling for the third time. Cota scored with six seconds remaining to secure a two-point victory over Bridges.

"I thought I was down 7-6, so I was taking some crazy shots," Bridges said. "I got caught.

"If he would have wrestled, I would have beat him."

Bridges won two of three matches on Friday.

"To see guys move on that I beat is real disappointing," Bridges said. "I should have went further."

Downey's Daniel Ippolito finished in fifth place.

Bridges compiled a 1-1 record against Ippolito this season.

He edged Ippolito 10-7 at the Ceres/Downey dual meet.

Ippolito pinned Bridges in the finals at the MMC championships.

Ceres' Jason Hardenbergh, Mike Tubera, Marc Dias, Steven Chavez and Nate Niemeyer also failed to move on to the section tournament.

Niemeyer compiled a 1-2 record at 275 pounds.

Chavez (160s), Dias (135s), Tubera (119s) and Hardenbergh (103s) all went 0-2.

Ceres' Jake Keidel was supposed to compete at sub-sections but couldn't because he sprained his left ankle at practice. The injury occurred two days before the meet.

"I'm hoping they use what they learned this year to catapult them to success next year," Leslie said. "They have the ability."

Ceres finished 26th in a field of 30 with 11 points. Golden Valley won the sub-section title, while Turlock took second. - By DALE BUTLER /

Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier