By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CHS grapplers advance to Masters
Curtis Hulstine, Tony Spinella, Keegan Overbey and Wesley Schwieger appear to be peaking at the right time.

The Ceres High varsity wrestlers extended their seasons Saturday in Manteca by finishing in the top five of their respective weight classes at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament.

Hulstine and Spinella won titles for the second straight week. The two seniors compiled identical 3-0 records.

Curtis didn't face much of a challenge in cruising to a 14-4 victory over East Union's Marco Castaneda during their 125-pound championship tilt.

Hulstine had a similar type of performance against Castaneda at the VOL finals, winning by a score of 16-5.

"I'm super happy because it puts me in good position going into the Masters meet," Hulstine said. "I wouldn't be where I'm at if it weren't for my coaches (Jon Nowicki and Steve Festa). They're great."

"Curtis is in a league of his own in this area," Nowicki said. "The level he's at is a testament to his hard work in the room and ability God blessed him with."

Spinella took home the 145-pound crown.

Tony faced a familiar opponent in the finals, Oakdale's Dustin Harris, and won by the exact same score (1-0).

"He knows what he wants and he's going for it," Nowicki said.

"I came into this season with a mental attitude of I'm not going to be beat by anybody," Spinella said. "I'm really surprising myself. It gives me a lot more confidence."

Overbey won three of four matches en route to a second-place finish at 130 pounds. The senior lost by technical fall to Oakdale's Shane Tate in the finals.

"He (Keegan) wrestled tough," Nowicki said. "Tate's a returning state qualifier."

Schwieger, a junior, secured his first-ever Masters berth by taking fourth in the 103-pound class.

"I'd like to see him win a match," Nowicki said. "He's definitely capable of it."

Wesley amassed a 4-2 record at Divisionals. He lost by second-round pin (3:50) to Oakdale's Juan Garza during the third-place bout.

Ceres High freshman Gabriel Balderas nearly qualified for Masters while competing as an alternate. The 112-pounder finished in sixth place with a 2-3 record.

"That's a big accomplishment for him," Nowicki said. "He did a great job. He's going to be a solid wrestler if he sticks it out and works hard."

Bulldog teammates Erik Eisenbeis (171 pounds, 1-2 record), Kevin Hartley (275, 0-2) and Mark Piceno (119, 0-2) didn't place at divisionals.

Ceres High took fifth a with a team score of 102.

Oakdale (253), Placer (137) and Weston Ranch (110.5) finished first, second and third, respectively.

"We really performed well," Nowicki said. "We just didn't have the depth to compete for a top-two finish."

The Masters tournament will be held this Friday and Saturday at Stockton Arena. The top seven individuals in each of the 14 weight classes qualify for the CIF State Meet.

"That's been my goal since I've been wrestling," Spinella said. "That would mean the world to me."

"That would be amazing," Hulstine stated. "I feel very confident. I'm going to give it my all during every match."

"If they (Tony, Curtis and Keegan) perform like the way I know they can, they have a good shot at going to state," Nowicki added.