By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Paying it forward
Mae Hensley Jr. High School's wrestling team had a triumphant end to the 2009-10 season.

The Warriors brought home eight individual medals from the Turlock tournament on March 27.

Sahil Soni took first.

John Williams and Ethan Cefre both placed second.

Ricky Garcia, Diego Sanchez, Cynthia Sanchez, Enfenitti Santana and Hanna Shananan all finished third.

"Every kid I had on the team was hard working, willing to learn and very respectful," Mae Hensley coach and former Warrior wrestler Steve Festa said. "They never stopped pushing. I'm real proud of them."

Festa, a 1998 Ceres High grad, joined Mae Hensley's coaching staff in 2006-07. He's been an assistant with the Bulldogs for the past four years. Steve and CHS head coach Jon Nowicki spent one season together at Central Valley.

"I don't do it for the pay," Festa said. "It's something I love and have a passion for. The relationships I'm able to build are priceless. I don't take it for granted. I know the position I'm in. I'm blessed."

Steve enjoyed working with all 22 of Mae Hensley's wrestlers this past season, including Soni, Williams, Cefre, Garcia, Santana, Shananan, Diego Sanchez, Cynthia Sanchez, Alyssa Sanchez, Brian Baker, Eric Bejaran, Luis Calderon, Samuel Davison, Moses Gomez, Rudy Gonzalez, Abel Morales, Daniel Raya, Brad Santiago, Daniel Soriano, Adrian Torres, Zack Twitt and Micah Young.

Soni was named the team's MVP.

Garcia and Diego Sanchez won the Coach's and Most Improved awards, respectively.

"These young kids deserve to be recognized," Festa said. "The faculty and community should be proud of them. They're going to be a strong class for Ceres High wrestling."

Festa moved back to Ceres recently. He'll continue to coach at his former schools.

"I have a lot of roots here," Steve said. "I was a member of Boy Scouts Troop 9 for 15 years. I played football for the Cowboys. I had peers in my life that gave me so much, so I'm going to give back."