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13 Bulldogs qualify for Divisionals
John Alba (pictured with his father Juan Alba Jr.) placed first at the Western Athletic Conference Championships for the second year in a row. Alba won the 147-pound title this season. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The members of Ceres High School's varsity wrestling program were in a jovial mood following Friday's runner-up finish at the Western Athletic Conference Championships in Patterson.

The Bulldogs earned 133 points while finishing second overall in the team standings.

More importantly, Ceres High had 13 grapplers advance to the second round of postseason competition.

"I'm proud of how the kids performed," Bulldogs head coach Steve Festa said. "I saw improvement. It seemed like just about everybody came home with a medal. We had five guys in the finals."

The Bulldogs had 12 individuals medal at the WAC meet, including champions John Alba (147 pounds), Aiden Moore (154s) and Tyree Williams (184s).

Alba had a perfect 9-0 record against WAC competition this year, including a 3-0 mark last week.

John also won his second straight conference championship.

"We haven't seen the best of him yet," Festa said. "He can still get better."

Seeded third, Moore upset the top two wrestlers in his weight division en route to capturing the crown.

Aiden placed fifth at the 2015 WAC finals.

"He didn't make mistakes on the mat," Festa said. "He wrestled smart. I'm really happy for him. He's put in a lot of work."

Williams won all eight of his conference matches this season.

"He's so athletic and mentally strong," Festa said. "He works hard. He wants to learn and get better. That's why he's getting the results on the mat."

Brian Becerra (128s) and Diego Diaz (172s) finished second in their respective weight classes.

Spencer Nelson (162s) and Conner Johnson (197s) both placed third.

Frankie Mendez (108s), Luis Camarillo (122s), Jaden Cooper (134s), Daniel McElwain (222s) and Antonio Gonzalez (287s) all took fourth.

Michael Vargas (115s, fifth) will compete at Divisionals as an alternate.

Crosstown-rival Central Valley (168) won the team title at the WAC finals.

The Hawks edged the Bulldogs by 35 points.

Los Banos (122.5), Livingston (96), Patterson (70), El Capitan (67) and Pacheco (44.5) took third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

"We were in first place for half of the day," Festa said. "Central Valley had a few more guys advance to the finals. That was the difference."

The Bulldogs will compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships this Friday and Saturday at Central Valley High School.