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Bulldogs earn second-place wrestling team trophy
CHS claims 3 individual titles
Ceres High won a team trophy and had seven individual placers at the Hilmar Invitational last week. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity wrestling program experienced team and individual success while competing at the Hilmar Invitational on Saturday.

Abel Morales, Diego Diaz, John Alba, Jose Arita, Cameron Thatcher, Aiden Moore and Michael Vargas all placed in the top three in their respective weight classes en route to leading the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish.

Bulldog teammates Nick Santibanez, Daniel Raya and Bruno De la Torre were sidelined by flu symptoms.

"The team result was a pleasant surprise because we were undermanned," Ceres High head coach Steve Festa said. "We dominated a lot of the matches."

Unbeaten at 195 pounds, Morales collected three pins on his way to a first-place showing.

Diaz (170s, three pins) and Alba (152s, three pins) also captured individual titles.

Arita took second at 285 pounds. He won three of his four matches.

Thatcher (145s, 2-2), Moore (132s, 2-2) and Vargas (106s, 2-2) all finished third.

Ceres High competed in the Hilmar tournament for the first time last week and didn't disappoint.

The Bulldogs had three individual champions and four other placers.

"We've been working very hard," Festa said. "It's been a grind."

The Bulldogs (5-4, 1-1) will host Western Athletic Conference-rival Patterson today at 6 p.m.

Visiting Ceres High lost 46-24 to defending WAC-champion Los Banos (1-1) last Wednesday.

Morales won by pin against Daniel Fernandez at 285 pounds.

Brian Quintanilla won by pin against Harbir Dhillon at 180 pounds.

Luis Camarillo won by pin against Jeremiah Diaz at 113 pounds.

Santibanez won by decision against Jesus Valdez at 145 pounds.

Vargas won by decision against Jakob Ramirez at 106 pounds.

"We were definitely competitive," Festa said. "We could have easily won that dual. We wrestled real tough."