Practice partners Elias Saldana and Argel Arroyo claimed individual championships while representing Ceres High’s varsity boys wrestling program at the Mike Tamana Tournament this past week at Modesto Junior College.
“I’m glad we won together,” Saldana said. “It’s a special moment for both of us. Working with Argel at practice changed everything. He helped push me and prepare me for these matches.”
Saldana won the heavyweight title with a perfect 4-0 record.
He collected wins against Johansen’s Attila Sides (decision, 9-8), Merced’s Clifford Johnson (pin), Modesto Christian’s Wisdom Crosby (pin) and Central Catholic’s Jericho Machado (pin).
“I tried my best to not be nervous. I felt more comfortable after each win. I beat guys that were bigger, taller and more experienced. It’s only because of the extra work I put in."Elias Saldana
“I tried my best to not be nervous,” he said. “I felt more comfortable after each win. I beat guys that were bigger, taller and more experienced. It’s only because of the extra work I put in. I used everything the coaches and Argel taught me.”
Saldana edged Sides in the finals.
He was awarded one point for an escape with 4 seconds left in the final period to secure the victory.
“That’s the toughest match I’ve had,” Saldana said. “I really wanted it. I was mentally focused.”
Saldana did not compete at the Tamana Tournament his first season with the Bulldogs last winter.
“I wasn’t prepared,” he said. “This year, I know what to expect. I’m a lot more comfortable doing moves. I’m great at what I was good at last season. The more you wrestle, the more you learn.”
Arroyo (3-0) took first at 220 pounds.
He collected wins against Livingston’s Eduardo Reyna (pin) and Felix Lorenzo (decision, 10-3), and Grace Davis’ Robert Herold (pin).
“His determination makes him such a great wrestler,” Saldana said. “He wants to be the best.”
Bulldog teammates Joshua Ofisa and Edison Jimenez also placed.
Ofisa took fourth with a 2-2 record at 220 pounds.
He collected wins against Johansen’s Bryan Garcia (pin) and Ripon’s Colin Speed (pin).
Jimenez (2-3) took sixth at 132 pounds.
He collected wins against Beyer’s Jack Lawrence (decision 5-0) and Big Valley Christian’s Joshua Stubbert (major decision, 8-0).
Ceres High’s Angel Figueroa, Fernando Gonzalez, Nathaniel Pethyon and Sonald Lal did not place.
Figueroa, Gonzalez and Pethyon contributed to the Bulldogs’ point total.
Figueroa, Gonzalez and Pethyon all won one of three matches in their respective weight classes.
Figueroa (160s) topped Johansen’s Fabian Mendoza (pin).
Gonzalez (152s) topped Ripon’s Simon De Freitas (pin).
Pethyon (113s) topped Buchach Colony’s Matthew Vierra (decision, 4-2).
Lal (106s) dropped both of his matches.
He lost to Sonora’s Adrian Gonzalez (decision, 5-2) and El Capitan’s Jesus Garcia (pin).
Ceres High finished 10th overall at the 25-team tournament.
The Bulldogs totaled 75 points.
El Capitan (245), Franklin (241) and Bella Vista (191) placed first, second and third, respectively.
“Our team really bounced back after our dual (loss) against Beyer,” Ceres High head coach Steve Festa said. “We had our best practice of the season the day after that duel. They showed great resilience.”