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CHS boys wrestling team wins WAC tourney title again
Ceres Highs varsity boys wrestling program placed first at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs had five individual champions, including Daniel McElwain, Spencer Nelson, Andrew Gibson, Ethan Letras and Jaden Cooper. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Driven to excel, Ceres High's varsity boys wrestling program successfully defended its team title at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday at Central Valley.

"It was a great day," Bulldogs' head coach Steve Festa said. "I'm just happy this class could experience what last year's class experienced. They were deserving of what they earned."

Added Ceres High senior grappler Ethan Letras: "It's an impressive thing we'll be able to look back at forever and it will never go away. I'm really proud we were able to hold up the legacy of our program. We all believed we could do it."

The Bulldogs earned 257.50 points while finishing in first place at the 2018 WAC Championships.

Patterson (241.50, Central Valley (224), Livingston (168), Pacheco (159.50) and Los Banos (81.50) took second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Ceres High (3-2) finished third during the conference dual-meet season.

"We had the best team in the league," Festa said. "We proved it."

"I was a little nervous at the beginning of the season," Letras said. "We lost half of our lineup to graduation. But I knew we could pull it off. We met our potential. It's super special."

The Bulldogs had five individuals claim conference crowns at the WAC tourney, including Letras, Daniel McElwain, Spencer Nelson, Andrew Gibson and Jaden Cooper.

"Over half of the finals matches had Ceres kids in them," Letras said. "That's impressive. We were the most formidable team in our league."

Letras placed first at 160 pounds.

He won both of his matches.

Ethan defeated Los Banos' Reed Simmons (pin) and Livingston's Xavier Sanchez (pin).

McElwain placed first at 220 pounds.

He won both of his matches.

Daniel defeated Los Banos' Eduardo Perez (pin) and Patterson's Aaron Botkin (pin).

Nelson placed first at 182 pounds.

He won both of his matches.

Spencer defeated Pacheco's Albert Avila (pin) and Patterson's David Valverde (decision).

Gibson placed first at 170 pounds.

He won all three of his matches.

Andrew defeated Pacheco (forfeit), Livingston's Andres Garcia (pin) and Central Valley's Ryan Palecek (pin).

Cooper placed first at 145 pounds.

He won both of his matches.
Jaden defeated Central Valley's Roman Ramirez (pin) and Patterson's Jarrod Villalon (technical fall).

Sonald Lal (106s, 1-1), Shanald Lal (113s, 1-1) and Austin Hanshew (195s, 2-1) all placed second.

Sonald defeated Central Valley's Jesse Vazquez (decision).
He lost to Patterson's Jeremey Hernandez (decision) in the finals.

Shanald defeated Central Valley's Antonio Castillo (pin).
He lost to Patterson's Adrian Berrera (pin).

Austin defeated Los Banos (forfeit) and Central Valley's Natanael Lezama (pin).

He lost to Livingston's Felix Lorenzo (decision).

Elias Saldana (285s, 3-1) placed third.

Saldana defeated Los Banos' Santiago Arelize (pin), Livingston (forfeit) and Central Valley's Edgar Castillo (pin).

He lost to Patterson's Jacob Vainuku (pin).

Bryan Erenas (138s, 2-2), Ricky Gonzales (126s, 2-2), Rafael Ortiz (120s, 2-2) and Edison Jimenez (132s, 2-2) all placed fourth.

Erenas defeated Los Banos' Nathaniel Ruiz (decision) and Central Valley's Alan Chavez (decision).

He lost to Livingston's Cristian Peralta (pin) and Patterson's Francisco Duran (major decision).

Gonzales defeated Los Banos (forfeit) and Pacheco (forfeit).

He lost to Livingston's Juan Garcia (pin) and Central Valley's Michael Duran (major decision).

Ortiz defeated Los Banos (forfeit) and Pacheco's Julian Andrade (decision).

He lost to Patterson's Mokbel Obeid (pin) and Central Valley's Anthony Voss (pin).
Jimenez defeated Livingston's Juan Martinez (decision) and Los Banos' Sebastian Vergara (decision).

He lost to Pacheco's Jose Navarro (pin) and Central Valley's Kyle Hendrix (major decision).

Fernando Gonzalez (152s, 0-3) placed sixth.

Gonzalez lost to Livingston's Adrian Perez (pin), Central Valley's James Murphy (injury default) and Patterson's Bryan Lopez (injury default).

McElwain, Nelson, Gibson, Letras, Cooper, Hanshew, Saldana, Erenas, Gonzales, Ortiz and Jimenez, Sonald Lal and Shanald Lal extended their seasons by virtue of their top-four finishes in their respective weight classes at the WAC Championships.

They'll compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament this Friday and Saturday at Foothill High School in Sacramento.