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Bulldogs medal
• CHS senior Elias Saldana accomplishes goal by finishing first at home
Elias Saldana medal
Ceres High senior Elias Saldana earned a measure of redemption at the Ceres Invitational. Runner-up a season ago, Saldana placed first in the 285-pound weight bracket this year.

Ceres High’s varsity boys wrestling program had three individuals medal at the 54th Annual Ceres Invitational earlier this month at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Runner-up a year ago in the 285-pound division, senior Elias Saldana took home a championship ring on Dec. 7.

“It’s feels great to know I achieved one of my goals,” he said. “My parents are happy for me. They know how much I wanted it.”

Saldana was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Upper-Weight Wrestler.

“It’s not something I strived for,” he said. “I just wanted the ring. Now, all the weight is off my shoulders. Getting second last year bothered me for the rest of the season.”

“I kept the streak going,” Saldana added. “We’ve had someone place first 10 years in a row.”

Saldana won by second-round pin versus Central Valley’s Natanael Lezama in the finals.

“Last year, I got a little anxious and messed up,” he said. “I didn’t rush it this year. I was patient. I wrestled smart. I used my strength against my opponents.”

Saldana beat Johansen’s Attila Sides (pin, 1:05) in the semifinals and Beyer’s Alejandro Ramirez (pin, 1:02) in the quarterfinals.

Saldana improved his head-to-head record to 2-1 versus Sides.

Sides beat Saldana for the 285-pound title at the Western Athletic Conference Championships last winter.

“For me, it was personal. I redeemed myself.”
Elias Saldana

“For me, it was personal,” he said. “I redeemed myself.”

Saldana will don his championship ring after it gets resized.

“I’m not going to bring it to school to show it off,” he said. “But I’ll find an occasion to wear it.”

Saldana improved his overall record to 4-0.

He’s won all of his matches by pin.

“I’m different from last year,” he said. “I’m able to read and analyze a match. My IQ is higher.”

Ceres High’s Edison Jimenez, Brian Ayala, Angel Figueroa and Josh Ofisa also medaled.

Jimenez placed second at 152 pounds.

He posted a 2-1 record.

He lost to East Union’s Joe Luna (pin, 4:18) in the finals.

Jimenez beat Gregori’s Joseph Benavidez (pin, 1:59) and Ceres High’s Fernando Gonzalez (pin, 1:19).

Ayala placed fifth at 145 pounds.

He posted a 3-2 record.

He beat Deer Valley’s Kayden Casteneda (major decision, 17-7), Big Valley’s Josh Stubbert (pin, 3:28) and Gregori’s Cameron Sablowski (pin, 3:22).

He lost to Beyer’s Jack Lawrence (pin, 1:12) and East Union’s Ty Diaz (decision, 8-1).

Figueroa posted a 1-3 record at 182 pounds.

He beat Downey’s Tyler Sanchez (decision, 11-5).

Figueroa lost to Central Valley’s Ruben Valenzuela (pin, 1:03), Big Valley Christian’s Gavin Boone (major decision, 13-3) and Livingston’s Anthony Aguilar (decision, 9-2).

Ofisa posted a 1-2 record at 220 pounds.

He beat Modesto High’s Sebastian Saucedo (pin, 4:06).

Ofisa lost to Beyer’s Raul Garcia (pin, 5:23) and Downey’s Andres Robles (forfeit).

Bulldog teammates Gabriel Flores, Fernando Gonzalez, Diego Armas and Miguel Espinoza did not place.

Flores compiled an 0-1 record at 160 pounds.

He lost to East Union’s Connor Galloway (pin, 1:59).

Gonzalez compiled an 0-2 record at 152 pounds.

He lost to Jimenez (pin, 1:19) and Big Valley Christian’s Silas Stubbert (decision, 10-1).

Armas compiled an 0-2 record at 138 pounds.

He lost to Gregori’s Johnathan Crespin (pin) and Livingston’s Andrew Quinjano (pin).

Espinoza compiled an 0-2 record at 120 pounds.

He lost to Beyer’s Theo Miller (pin) and Johansen’s Jordan MacDonal (pin).

The host Bulldogs tallied 76 points while finishing ninth in the team standings.

Livingston (135.50), Central Valley (114) and Gregori (111) took first, second and third, respectively.

“A lot of people on the team did great,” Saldana said. “We’ll improve on what we did wrong.”