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Rodriguez, Burris advance to section meet
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Ceres High senior Ryan Rodriguez faced a familiar opponent in the finals of the Sac-Joaquin South-Delta Sub-Section Wrestling Championships at Ptiman High on Saturday. And for the fourth time this season, Rodriguez watched Turlock's Billy Exline, the No. 3 ranked 119-pound wrestler in the state according to California Wrestler Magazine, celebrate.

Exline posted a 5-2 victory over Rodriguez.

"We're closing the gap," said Ceres interim coach Bruce Scott. "It's got to be playing with his (Billy's) mind."

Rodriguez lost via decision (9-2), pin (1:05) and majority decision (15-3) to Exline during the regular season.

The fourth match was much closer. Rodriguez trailed 5-0 at the end of the first round.

"If Ryan stayed off his back in the first round things could have been different," Scott said.

Rodriguez compiled a 3-1 record in the championship bracket. He beat Los Banos' Andrew Souto by technical fall (17-1), pinned Edison's Kiriden Benny (1:37) and defeated Buhach Colony's Jewel Jackson by decision (5-0) in the semifinals.

The top six finishers in each division advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Meet. Two of Ceres' eight wrestlers qualified, including Rodriguez and David Burris.

Burris placed second in the 125-pound division with a 3-1 record. The senior lost 6-4 to Bear Creek's Harry Bestolarides in the finals. Burris defeated Bestolarides 3-2 at the Ceres Invitational on Jan. 17.

"It would have been nice for him to be number one but that didn't happen," Scott said. "He got outwrestled."

Burris won his first three matches. He pinned Los Banos' Juan Gutierrez (1:51) and Edison's Sergio Gomez (3:19) and edged West's Anthony Grejeda (7-5).

Peter Betschart finished in the top eight in the 189-pound division with a 2-2 record. The senior fell into the consolation bracket after losing by pin to Turlock's Anthony York (1:13) in the championship bracket. Betschart pinned East Union's Steve Arnaud (3:57) and Edison's Matthew Luanguala (2:29) before losing 10-4 to Downey's Jesse Talbot.

"Peter did a really good job," Scott said. "He beat some kids I didn't think he would beat. He ended his high-school career on an up note."

Dante Ribeiro compiled a 1-2 record in the 130-pound division. The senior beat East Union's Chris Osbourn 8-6 but lost 6-4 to Downey's Paul Irizzary in the championship bracket. In the consolation bracket, Ribeiro lost by major decision (10-0) to Davis' Adam Kennedy.

"Dante should be proud of himself," Scott said.

Roger Chiprez compiled a 1-2 record in the 145-pound division. The senior lost 4-1 to Lincoln's Greg Sallati in the championship bracket. Chiprez defeated Pitman's Justin Plagenza 13-8 and lost 6-4 to Los Banos' Michael Nichols in the consolation bracket.

"I thought he had the ability to make it to sections," Scott said. "He gave it his best shot."

Zack Van Wagoner compiled a 1-2 record in the 152-pound division. The freshman lost by pin (1:54) to Tracy's Josh Piazza, won via decision (8-7) over Manteca's Henry Orona and lost by major decision (11-1) to Downey's Richard Guardado.

"He was a little bit overmatched at this tournament," Scott said. "The kids he wrestled were bigger and older.

"He could be a good wrestler in the future."

Chris Coelho went 0-2 in the 140-pound division. The senior lost 7-2 to East Union's Kyle Lloyd and 7-3 to Downey's Mark Newman. Coelho was an alternate.

"He should be proud of his accomplishments," Scott said. "He finished seventh in league."

Ignacio McKenzie went 0-2 in the 135-pound division. The senior lost by pin (2:45) to Golden Valley's Ernie Harris and by major decision (9-1) to Tokay's Matt Esparza.

"He did the best he could but it didn't work out for him," Scott said. "He ran into better competition."

Ceres junior Johnny Bridges didn't make weight at 103s. He watched from the stands.

"He needed to weigh in at 105 on Friday," Scott said. "He stepped on the scale and was 1121/2 pounds."

Ceres placed 12th in a field of 28 with 53.5 points at the sub-section tournament. Turlock claimed the team title (273.5), Golden Valley finished second (140.5) and Davis took third (137). - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier