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Bulldogs, Hawks advance
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Ceres High's Tony Chavez, Steven Chavez, Tony Spinella and Curtis Hulstine, and Central Valley's Mike Tubera, Louis Bracamonte and Victor Tubera were awarded berths to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Wrestling Tournament after finishing in the top five in their respective weight classes at the Division IV championships on Feb. 16 in Sacramento.

"The guys have worked all season for this month," Hawks coach Joe Stewart said. "My big thing is to make sure they go out there, have fun and wrestle their hearts out."

Ceres High had one individual champion at Divisionals in Tony Chavez. The fourth-year varsity wrestler compiled a 4-0 record. He defeated Oakdale's AC Brown 4-2 for the 152-pound crown. The victory avenged a 7-6 loss in the Valley Oak League finals the previous week.

"Tony was a little more aggressive this time," Bulldogs coach Jon Nowicki said.

Ceres teammates Steven Chavez, Tony Spinella and Curtis Hulstine also shined.

Steven placed second with a 2-1 record at 171 pounds. The senior lost by pin in the third period to state-ranked Jordan Williams of El Dorado in the finals.

"It was a 5-1 match before then," Nowicki said.

Spinella placed third with a 3-1 record at 145 pounds. The sophomore won his final match by pin in the second period against Bear River's Derek Julian. Julian beat Spinella 7-0 in the opening round of the tournament.

"That was a great surprise," Nowicki said. "But Tony deserved it. He wrestled real hard."

Hulstine, a sophomore, defeated Foothill's Robert Salas 6-2 for fifth place at 112 pounds.

"Every match he wrestles, he seems to get better and better," Nowicki said.

Ceres High's Brian Naylor (103), Keegan Overbey (125), Dustin Espinoza (135) and Erik Eisenbeis (140) failed to advance. Naylor finished 2-2. Overbey, Espinoza and Eisenbeis went 0-2.

Central Valley senior Mike Tubera took third with a 4-1 record at 119 pounds. He reeled off four straight wins by pin after losing by decision in the second round. His final victim, Colfax's Joe Procopio, was stopped in the second period.

"I watched some of his previous matches," Tubera said. "I practiced defensing the cradle."

Bracamonte took fourth with a 4-2 record at 152 pounds. The senior lost via decision to Sonora's Seth Massengale in the third-place match.

"I wasn't surprised to see Louis advance," Stewart said. "He finally wrestled to his ability. The challenge all year was to try to get him to believe he's that good."

Victor Tubera won four of six matches en route to a fifth-place finish at 140 pounds. The junior saved his season when he earned a major decision over Bear Creek's Joe Paloetti.

"There was definitely some pressure," Tubera said.

Ceres High finished in eighth place in the team standings with 83 points. Oakdale (182.5), Sonora (154.5) and Foothill (139.5) took first, second and third, respectively.

The Masters Tournament was held, Feb. 21-22, at the University of the Pacific.