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Grapplers move on
Ceres High wrestlers Santibanez, Morales finish in top four at Division-IV tourney
Ceres senior Nick Santibanez drags Oakdales Max Stevens to the mat during the 126-pound championship match at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament. Santibanez suffered a 3-2 loss. - photo by JOHN-JOEL GRIFFITHS/The Courier

Ceres High's Nick Santibanez and Abel Morales finished in the top four in their respective weight divisions while starring at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Wrestling Championships this past week in Folsom.

Santibanez and Morales both qualified to compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet, to be staged Feb. 28-March 1 in Stockton.

"I expected them to move on," Bulldogs head coach Steve Festa said. "They are by far my two best wrestlers."

Santibanez, a 126-pound senior, placed second.

Nick compiled a 2-1 record.

He lost 3-2 to Oakdale's Max Stevens in the finals.

Santibanez beat Weston Ranch's Brendon Curtright (decision, 8-2) and Cosumnes Oaks' Brad Nantuna (decision, 10-4).

Morales, a 195-pound junior, took third.

Abel posted a 3-1 record.

Morales beat Sierra's Julian Semenza (decision, 3-1), Central Valley's Adrian Badillo (pin, 3:45) and East Union's Nick McGill (pin, 5:41).

He lost to Cosumnes Oaks' Tyler Martin (pin, 4:42).

Alexis Zuniga (106 pounds), Louis Camarillo (113s), Diego Diaz (160s) and Jose Arita (285s) had identical 0-2 records.

Zuniga lost to Vista del Lago's Grant Leon (decision, 2-0) and River City's Gage Stolpe (decision, 6-4).

Camarillo lost to Kimball's Robbie Delgado (pin, 1:39) and Vista del Lago's Trace Fredericks (major decision, 13-2).

Diaz lost to Lathrop's Alejandro Torres (pin, 2:34) and Liberty Ranch's Kolby McDonald (pin, 2:10).

Arita lost to Cosumnes Oaks' Michael Smith (decision, 9-4) and Pacheco's Joseph Coronado (default, 3:35).

"All the guys wrestled tough," Festa said. "They didn't quit. I'm proud of their effort. The younger wrestlers got valuable experience."

The Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament will be staged at Stockton Arena.

The top seven placers in each weight class advance to the CIF State Meet.

"It's not going to be easy," Festa said. "We're going to have some tough matches. We want to finish our season at state."