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Ceres High's wrestling program posted its first winning record in league since 2001 and sent five grapplers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament last year.

The Bulldogs are hoping for a repeat performance in 2007-08 despite losing a handful of starters to graduation, including Zach Van Wagoner, Jacob Lopez, William Horton, Nathan Niemeyer and Daniel Tubera.

"This is going to be a rebuilding year. But at the same time, we should do really well individually and as a team," head coach Jon Nowicki said.

For the first time in a long time, Ceres High will be fielding a complete lineup. With more than 30 dedicated wrestlers to select from, all 14 spots will be filled. The Bulldogs were hurt by forfeits in 2006-07.

"We got some kids that are dedicated and are going to finish the year," Nowicki said. "We should have a solid lineup."

Ceres High's top returners are Steven Chavez, Tony Chavez, Erik Eisenbeis, Keegan Overbey and Shawn Amirfar.

Senior Steven Chavez enters the season rated No. 6 in the Sac-Joaquin Section preseason rankings for 171-pounders thanks to his first-place finish at the VOL championships and 2-2 performance at the Masters Meet last year. He'll wrestle at 189 pounds during his final campaign.

Twin brother Tony Chavez placed second in VOL and won one of three matches in the 152-pound weight division at masters a season ago. He'll compete at 160s this year.

"Both of them have a good shot at going to state," Nowicki said.

Eisenbeis and Overbey finished in sixth place at 140 and 112 pounds, respectively, at the VOL championships.

Amirfar wrestled at 130 pounds during several conference dual meets.

The Bulldogs' top newcomers are Tony Spinella (sophomore) and Dustin Espinoza (senior).

Espinoza, a senior transfer from Central Valley, qualified for the Division IV Tournament at 135 pounds as a junior. He took fourth at the league championships.

Spinella (152s) moved to Ceres from Florida.

Senior Jess Gilmore (215s), juniors Johnathon Clark (152s) and Frankie Cordero (119s), sophomores Nathan Glow (140s), Curtis Hulstine (112s) and Brian Naylor (103s), and freshman Torrey McClure (119s) will also contribute.

"There's a lot of different lineups I can put out there depending on the situation," Nowicki said.

Nowicki's coaching staff consists of Steve Festa, Glenn Nowicki, Adam Lancaster, William Horton and Jacob Lopez. Glenn, Jon's father, was head coach of the Bulldogs for 15 years.

"We're looking to build a really solid program here," Jon Nowicki said.

Inside the team's practice facility, there's a board on the wall with name plates that change or stay the same during the course of the season depending on the results of weekly wrestle-offs.

"We have enough people now who are going to challenge for a spot," Nowicki said. "That really helps build a team."