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Bulldogs close in on wrestling goal
Ceres High School's varsity wrestling team tightened its grip on second-place in the Valley Oak League standings last Wednesday with a sweep of Weston Ranch and Lathrop on the road.

The Bulldogs are inching closer to meeting their main goal.

"It's been well over a decade since Ceres has been to team sections," head coach Jon Nowicki said. "That's a big deal, especially coming from our league. Oakdale is ranked 14th in the state."

Wesley Schwieger's first-round pin (1:56) of Luis Ochoa during their 103-pound bout lifted the Bulldogs to a thrilling 35-30 win over Weston Ranch.

The Cougars had just taken a 30-29 lead on the strength of three consecutive pins.

"It came down to Wesley's match," Ceres High assistant coach Steve Festa said. "He wanted to deliver for his teammates. He responded to the challenge."

The Bulldogs beat Weston Ranch for the first time under the direction of fourth-year leaders Nowicki and Festa.

"We had enough firepower to come through with the win," Nowicki said. "We had a lot of matches go the distance. Two good teams battled."

Said Festa: "We were prepared. They were prepared. That's why it was competitive."

Schwieger, along with Gabe Balderas, Rajdeep Singh, Curtis Hulstine, Keegan Overbey, Christian Rodriguez, Shawn Amirfar and Christian Moore, contributed to the point total against the Cougars.

Balderas and Singh, two first-year grappler, both won by decision.

Gabe defeated Daniel Guzman 6-3 at 112 pounds.

Rajdeep Singh edged Joe Anthony Gomez 6-4 in overtime at 130 pounds.

"They were determined not to be denied," Festa said.

Bulldog veterans Hulstine, Rodriguez, Overbey, Amirfar and Moore all took care of business against their respective opponents.

Hulstine won by pin (3:20) over Grant Mar at 125 pounds.

Christian Rodriguez won by pin (5:28) over Broderick Olitan at 145 pounds.

Overbey won by technical fall (18-2) over Daniel Garcia at 135 pounds.

Amirfar won by decision (7-2) over Tony Gomes at 160 pounds.

Christian Moore won by decision (5-1) over Corey Lee at 171 pounds.

Ceres High posted a 52-20 victory over short-handed Lathrop.

Balderas, Hulstine, Singh, Overbey, Tony Spinella (160), Erik Eisenbeis (189) and Lucas Silva (215) accounted for Ceres High's seven forfeit wins.

Moore pinned Wilmer Alvarez in the third round (5:34).

Rodriguez earned a major decision (18-6) against Jovonne Young.

Ceres High (5-1) will travel across town today to compete against Central Valley and East Union. The heavily-favored Bulldogs appear to be headed to the Section Team Dual Championships. The Feb. 6 competition will be held at Rosemont High School.

"We're not overlooking anyone," Festa said. "But I believe in our team. We're going to achieve our goal."

Added Nowicki: "We have high expectations for the kids every day. That translates on the mat."