By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CHS wrestling team takes first at home tournament
Ceres High varsity wrestling fans cheered joyously after Deer Valley's Barry Harper pinned Sunnyside's John Zamarano in the 215-pound title match during Saturday's 44th Ceres Invitational.

The upset locked up the team title, the first in at least 28 years, for the host Bulldogs.

Ceres High (150 points) edged out Sunnyside (147). Crosstown rival Central Valley placed 14th (42).

"The whole crowd erupted," head coach Jon Nowicki said. "The kids were jumping around and high-fiving each other. I haven't seen that much excitement in a long time."

The Bulldog had four wrestlers advance to the finals.

Curtis Hulstine, the tournament's lower-weight MVP, captured the 130-pound championship. He pinned Livermore's Tyler Rardon for the title. Hulstine took first at 119s last year.

"He dominated everybody," Nowicki said.

Tony Spinella won all three of his matches on his way to claiming the 160-pound title. He pinned Golden Sierra's Kendall Smith in the finals.

Christian Moore (171s, 3-1) and freshman Gabe Balderas (103s, 2-1) had to settle for runner-up honors.

They lost in the finals to Deer Valley's Erik Dwyer and Sunnyside's Shaquwan Wright, respectively.

"He (Gabe) impressed me," Nowicki said.

Ceres High's Nick Moran (140s, 3-2), Christian Rodriguez (152s, 2-2) and Erik Eisenbeis (189s, 2-2) all finished in fourth place.

Keegan Overbey (135s, 1-0) would have placed higher than sixth but had to withdraw from the tournament. Overbey left early after receiving devastating news that his grandfather passed away.

"Everyone contributed," Nowicki said. "I didn't expect it (to win the Ceres Invitational) because of how young our team is. I can't remember the last time we've taken first. It's huge for our program. This is our fourth trophy in the last three years. That's exciting."

The Bulldogs finished first at Bear Creek Invitational last season, and second at Edison and third at Stagg in 2007.

Central Valley's Josh Beckhart (215s, 4-1), Alex Alvarez (119s, 2-2) and Jaime Lomeli (145s, 3-2) took third, fourth and fifth, respectively, at the Ceres Invitational.

Central Catholic sophomore Kyle Martinez, formerly of Central Valley, took third (3-1) at 189 pounds.

The all-day event ran smooth thanks in large part to the hard work of 30-plus volunteers.

"We can't run a tournament that size without help," said Nowicki, whose mom, dad and two sisters were among the assistants. "They all stepped up and did a great job. I got a lot of compliments."