By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Alba falls short of goal at state meet
John Alba amassed a 163-45 record, qualified for the CIF State Meet twice and claimed three WAC titles during his four-year career with Ceres High. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Courier

John Alba put on a Ceres High wrestling singlet for the final time last Friday in Bakersfield when he competed at the CIF State Championships.

Seeking to become the Bulldogs' first medalist in 18 years, Alba fell short of his goal.

The 145-pound senior compiled an 0-2 record at state for the second straight season.

"It doesn't take away from how great of a wrestler he was," Ceres High head coach Steve Festa said. "He's a two-time state qualifier. That's how he'll be remembered. I told him I loved him and our team wouldn't have been what it was without him."

Alba lost by pin (4:00) to Monache's Beau Bradley and decision (10-7) to Bullard's Julian Beltran at Rabobank Arena.

"We did everything we could to prepare for the tournament," Festa said. "It just wasn't our day. It's a tough pill to swallow. The effort he gave made me real proud. He wrestled to win. He did his best."

Alba had a career record of 163-45 during his four years with the Bulldogs.

John joined elite company by becoming just the seventh Ceres High grappler in the last 22 years to qualify for the CIF State Meet twice.

Alba placed first at the Western Athletic Conference Championships his senior, junior and sophomore years.

He captured an individual title at the 2017 Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV tournament.

"John is one of the greats of our program," Festa said. "I'm going to talk about him for years to come. I loved coaching him every minute of his career. He made the sacrifices and got the results. He was a special wrester. Our team wasn't what it was without him."

With Alba leading the way, Ceres High captured the blue Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV championship banner this winter.

The Bulldogs also won WAC overall, tourney and dual-meet titles. "The toughest part is knowing that it's over," Festa said. "He's going to be moving on to his next challenge. He wants to wrestle at the next level. I'm excited for him."