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Bulldogs advance in wrestling
Ceres High School's varsity wrestling program will send three grapplers to this week's Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet.

Gabe Balderas, Armando Morales and Ruben Sanchez qualified after finishing among the top four in their respective weight divisions at Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships on Saturday at Los Banos High School.

Balderas, a two-time CIF State Meet participant and three-time Western Athletic Conference champion, accomplished a first this past week by claiming gold.

"He didn't do anything to hurt his No. 8 state ranking," head coach Jon Nowicki said.

Gabe compiled a perfect 3-0 record while competing in the 113-pound class. He had to settle for runner-up honors last year.

Balderas topped Kimball's Vinay Roa (pin, 0:38), Weston Ranch's Nate Bowen (major decision, 12-2) and Oakdale's Trevor Williams (decision, 5-2).

"He's real tough to beat when he puts everything together," Nowicki said.

Morales placed third with a 3-1 record at 285 pounds.

Armando defeated Weston Ranch's Joseph Gomez twice via pin (3:46, 1:12) and Pacheco's Everardo Santillan once by decision (4-0).

He lost by pin (5:22) to Kimball's Nathan Pearlman.

"He had a good shot at winning the whole thing," Nowicki said. "It's the best I've seen him wrestler this year. It was impressive. He's peaking at the right time."

Sanchez managed to place fourth at 220 pounds despite being slowed by the flu.

He compiled a 3-2 record.

Ruben defeated River City's Deangelo Estep (pin, 3:22), Vista del Lago's Clayton Wagner (decision, 11-4) and East Union's Anthony Melena (decision, 3-2).

He lost twice by decision (12-7, 5-2) to Kimball's Logan Finley.

"He wasn't 100 percent," Nowicki said.

Bulldog teammates David Cisneros, Nick Santibanez, Abel Morales, Micah Young, Daniel Raya and Rudy Gonzales also competed at Divisionals.

Cisneros, a senior, posted a 2-2 record on his way to a fifth-place finish in the 145-pound division.

David defeated Union Mine's Matt Cathey (decision, 12-8) and Livingston's Jose Ruelas (decision, 11-8).

He lost to Oakdale's Tyler Noon (decision, 7-0) and Vista del Lago's Troy Grossi (major decision, 16-5).

"It's not where he wanted to end the season," Nowicki said. "It was a heartbreaker. He shouldn't have any regrets. He was in one of the toughest weight brackets."

Santibanez (132 pounds, 2-2) took sixth.

Nick defeated Union Mine's Christian Beck (pin, 3:38) and Patterson's Manuel Cruz (decision, 16-9).

He lost to Kimball's Trent Nicholson (pin, 1:28) and Patterson's Manuel Cruz (decision, 16-9).

Gonzales (195s, 0-2), Raya (126s, 0-2), Young (106s, 0-2) and Abel Morales (182s, 1-2) did not place.

Abel defeated Liberty Ranch's Manuel Holman (decision, 5-2).

He lost to Oakdale's Bailey Dryden (decision, 7-1) and River City's John Gray (pin, 0:49).

Micah lost to Lathrop's Alex Garcia (technical fall, 19-2) and Cosumnes Oaks Robert Wakefield (technical fall, 18-2).

Daniel lost to El Dorado's Marcus Douglas (pin, 5:36) and Sierra's Billy Fishburn (pin, 4:58).

Rudy lost to Manteca's Daniel Clemons (decision, 8-4) and Pacheco's Brandon Villarreal (major decision, 13-5).

Ceres High amassed 73 points en route to a ninth-place showing in the team standings.

"We finished in the top third," Nowicki said. "We got some kids that are tough."

The Masters competition will be held at Stockton Arena this Friday and Saturday.

The top 7 finishers in each weight class advance to state.

"I'd like to take more than one guy this year," Nowicki said. "That's been our goal."