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Taking the next step
Ceres Unified's two public high schools combined to qualify 12 wrestlers for this week's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament.

Ceres High's Curtis Hulstine, Keegan Overbey, Brian Naylor, Christian Rodriguez, Tony Spinella, Wesley Schwieger, Christian Moore and Albert Melendez, and Central Valley's Victor Tubera, Gilbert Soares, Vince Lopez and Josh Beckhart earned berths by finishing among the top four of their respective weight classes at the Valley Oak League championships on Saturday in Ceres.

"I'm definitely happy," Bulldogs head coach Jon Nowicki said. "That's what we were gunning for. Hopefully next year we're going to expand on that."

Tubera, Overbey and Hulstine had their conference title hopes dashed by a trio of Oakdale grapplers.

Victor lost by third-round pin to Trent Noon in the 145-pound final.

Noon holds a 3-0 head-to-head record against Tubera. He won twice by decision during the regular season.

"It just shows that I need to improve if I want to make it to state," Victor said.

Keegan lost by pin in the closing seconds of the third round to Cody Sleeman in the 130-pound final.

Hulstine dropped a 7-2 decision to Wyatt Casey in the 112-pound final.

"I'll probably see him in the finals at divisionals," Curtis said. "I'm going to look at film and correct my mistakes."

Naylor upset Oakdale's Kevin Williams via second-round pin for third place at 119 pounds.

"I listened to Keegan's advice and used the cradle," Brian said. It feels good. I lost by pin to him earlier in the year."

Rodriguez (140 pounds) and Spinella (152) took third.

Schwieger (103), Moore (160), Melendez (285), Soares (135), Lopez (140) and Beckhart (189) finished in fourth place.

Albert's biggest win came against heavily-favored Kacey Stout of Oakdale during an elimination match.

Melendez avenged an earlier season loss with a third-round pin.

"He (Albert) did a great job," Nowicki said. "I'm proud of him."