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Hulstine: a stellar career
Curtis Hulstine enjoyed the experience even though the end result was disappointing.

The Ceres High senior posted a 1-2 record while competing in the 125-pound weight class of the CIF State Wrestling Championships on Friday at Bakersfield's Rabobank Arena.

"I went there last year to watch," he said. "This year, I was a part of it. I was in awe of the situation. It's a whole another level."

Hulstine opened the tournament with a 5-4 loss to North Torrance junior Masato Fukushima.

"I should have won that match," he said. "I came out flat and not on the attack."

Curtis rebounded with a 13-3 major decision over Santa Clara junior Kamyar Sharifi in the consolation bracket.

"I expected to win my first match," he said. "Losing it woke me up."

Hulstine lost 6-1 to Woodcreek freshman Peter Santos in an elimination match. Curtis won the previous meeting, 7-1, at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet.

"I feel like I should have done way better," he said. "But I left everything out on the mat. I had a good year. I had a good career."

Hulstine has a lot to be proud of despite failing to medal at state.

Curtis finished his prep career with a 113-31 record.

He became the first Bulldog wrestler to qualify for state since 2002 (Michael Scott).

Hulstine won 45 of 51 matches this year. He captured titles at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and Valley Oak League championships. Curtis also placed first at a handful of other tournaments during the regular season.

"The biggest thing I did was improve each year," said Curtis, who compiled a 28-17 record as a sophomore. "One of the best memories I had was beating Central Valley's Justin Lomeli (at the 2008 VOL tournament). Another was winning my quarterfinals match at Masters this year. I have a picture of me getting my hand raised on the background of my phone."

Hulstine had reason to celebrate after beating Calaveras' Brendan Sullivan by major decision (8-0). The victory locked up a berth to state.

"I got to state and didn't get pinned all year," Hulstine said. "I accomplished two of my goals."

Curtis plans to continue his wrestling career at Bakersfield College.

"My ultimate goal is to go to Cal State Bakersfield," he said. "They're Division I."

The past three years, Hulstine has spent countless hours in Ceres High's practice facility.

He'll have a lot of free time on his hands now.

"I don't know what I'm going to do after school," he said. "I'll probably help out at the junior high."

Jon Nowicki and Steve Festa, Ceres High's coaches, are in charge of Mae Hensley's wrestling program.