Casey Paulino has been promoted to head coach of Ceres High School’s boys wrestling program.
He assisted Steve Festa the previous two seasons.
Festa stepped down to spend more time with his family.
“I’ve always had a love for Ceres,” Paulino said. “To be able to give back to a program that molded me into who I am today is special. There’s no other team I’d coach for. I’m a Bulldog for life.”
Paulino graduated from Ceres High in 1996.
He wrestled for the Bulldogs for three seasons.
Paulino was a part of Ceres High’s Sub-Section and VOL championship teams his junior year.
“It’s nice being able to showcase what I learned and influence the kids on and off the mat,” he said. “There’s no other sport that’s going to push you harder than wrestling. It’s hard. You stress your body out. You get bumps and bruises. You don’t have anyone else to rely on, on the mat.”
Ceres High’s top returners are Elias Saldana (Sr., 285 pounds), Edison Jimenez (Sr., 160s/152s), Brian Ayala (Jr., 145s), Josh Ofisa (Sr., 220s), Sonald Lal (Sr., 113s), Diego Armas (So., 138s) and Allen Thy (Jr., 170s).
The Bulldogs’ top newcomers are Miguel Prado (Sr., 120s), Jose Cisneros (Fr., 126s) and Xander Hernandez (Fr., 145s).
Saldana won two of four matches at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, finished third at the Division-IV Championships and placed second at the Western Athletic Conference finals his junior year.
Jimenez and Lal both took second at the WAC tourney.
Gonzalez placed third.
Ofisa and Thy placed fourth.
"One thing we don’t lack is heart. That’s what Ceres is known for. We can always team them skill set.”Casey Paulino
“We have so many fresh faces on the team this year,” Paulino said. “There’s a big learning curve. One thing we don’t lack is heart. That’s what Ceres is known for. We can always team them skillset.”
“In order to be the best, you have to learn from others, push yourself harder than anybody else and be humble enough to accept loss but learn from it,” he added.
Ceres High finished in second place at the Western Athletic Conference Championships during the 2019-20 campaign. The Bulldogs took third during the WAC dual-meet season.
Ceres High had two grapplers qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament and 11 for the Division-IV competition.
“I believe we have just as good of a chance if not better than every other team in the WAC to finish in the top two,” Paulino said. “But nothing is given in this world. If you want something bad enough, you have to work for it.”