The members of Ceres High's varsity wrestling program turned in their gear to head coach Steve Festa on Monday, marking the end of a success-filled year for the Bulldogs.
Abel Morales, Rudy Gonzales, John Alba, Luis Camarillo and Diego Diaz all saw their seasons come to a halt at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament on Friday at Stockton Arena.
The top seven individuals in each weight class qualified for the CIF State Championships.
"I believe we had the talent to have state-qualifiers," Festa said. "We had a tough day. We don't make excuses. It was a great experience for my underclassmen. For my upperclassmen, it was heartbreaking to come up short. We competed with the best in our section. The talent level is real close."
Morales and Gonzales both put on Bulldog singlets for the final time last week.
"It was an accomplishment to get to this point in their careers," Festa said. "It's impressive. They wrestled their hearts out. I couldn't be prouder of their effort."
Abel compiled a 1-2 record in the 195-pound weight division.
He won by decision (5-1) over Calaveras' John Kelley.
He lost by decision decision to Vacaville's Zach Meyers (4-0) and Granite Bay's Aaron Weese.
Morales finished second at the WAC tournament and fourth at Divisionals.
He captured the 195-pound conference title his junior year.
"That's a huge accomplishment," said Festa, who pointed out Abel was a two-time Masters qualifier. "He set a great example for the young ones."
Gonzales posted an 0-2 record at 220 pounds. He lost by pin to Folsom's Jerod Nooner (1:49) and Vintage's Hayden Vough (1:33).
Rudy placed first at the WAC finals and third at Divisionals. Gonzales did not compete his junior year due to academic issues.
"He got back on track to graduate," Festa said. "Our team wouldn't have been the same without him. He made a big impact."
Alba, Camarillo and Diaz advanced to Masters as sophomores.
John had a 1-2 mark at 152 pounds.
He won by pin (0:04) over Mesa Verde's Joe Rud.
He lost by decision to Lodi's Justin Mederios (9-7, overtime) and Elk Grove's Arsenio Ayala (3-2).
Ayala and Mederios placed sixth and eighth, respectively.
Alba captured titles at the Division-IV and WAC competitions.
Camarillo won one of three matches at 120 pounds.
He collected a forfeit victory. Luis lost by pin (1:41) to Del Oro's Jansen Engelbrecht (1:41) and technical fall (16-0) to Lindhurst's Alex Olivera.
Diaz lost twice at 170 pounds. He dropped matches to Pitman's Cristian Clementi (pin, 3:59) and Modesto Christian's Rickey Johal (pin, 0:56).
Camarillo and Diaz both finished fourth at Divisionals. Luis and Diego placed third at the WAC finals.
"Our goal was to qualify for state," Festa said. "We fell a little short. I'm heartbroken for them because I'm their coach and biggest supporter."
Alba, Camarillo and Diaz will return to the team next season. "They're hungry," Festa said. "They want to get better."