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It took nearly three years, but Curtis Hulstine finally achieved his ultimate goal.

"It's good to put Ceres back on the map," he said.

Hulstine joined an elite club by becoming the first Bulldog grappler to qualify for the CIF State Wrestling Championship since Michael Scott accomplished that feat in 2002.

The 125-pound senior punched his ticket this past week when he topped Calaveras' Brendan Sullivan by major decision (8-0) in the quarterfinals of the the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, fans inside Stockton Arena counted down.

Curtis raised his arms and screamed in celebration.

"I had some happy tears coming out of my eyes after that match," he said. "It's exciting. My parents have always taught me to work hard for what you want. I accomplished one of my goals. It means the world to me."

"That's a moment I'll never forget," Ceres High assistant coach Steve Festa said.

Curtis compiled a 5-1 record at Masters. He edged Casa Robles' Austin Wulfert, 3-1, in overtime for third place.

Hulstine finished outside the top seven in 2009 (2-2) and 2008 (0-2).

"I came in with more experience," he said. "It helped me dominate."

Curtis has been on a mission since his 3-0 Valley Oak League dual-meet deciding loss to Central Valley's Justin Lomeli in 2007-08. Hulstine finished in fourth place at the conference tournament, one spot ahead of Lomeli later that season.

"My drive to be successful motivates me more than anything," he said. "I went to camps and wrestled during the summer. It helped me keep focus on my goal. I hoped that I'd make state my sophomore and junior years. This year, I expected to go."

"We always knew he had the potential," Festa added. "He's just starting to put it together now."

Hulstine has had a memorable senior year up to this point.

He qualified for state.

He's placed first at multiple tournaments, including the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and Valley Oak League competitions.

Curtis (44-4) will be vying for a top-five finish in Bakersfield this week, which guarantees a trip to Senior Nationals.

"I'm looking to place," he said. "We'll see what happens."

Added Festa: "We can have another state champion from Ceres if he wrestles to his full potential."

Charlie Davis captured the 112-pound crown in 1998.