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Woodall VOL’s top heavyweight

Weston Ranch tandem on short list of area titlists

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Woodall VOL’s top heavyweight

Jered Weiler of Lathrop High takes a quick glance at his coaches before slamming Ceres 112-pounder Gabe Balderas.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 14, 2010 12:56 a.m.
WESTON RANCH — East Union High heavyweight Devon Woodall’s goals moving forward are simple.

“First place at divisionals, place at Masters and qualify for state,” Woodall said after claiming the 275-pound title in the Valley Oak League Tournament Saturday at Weston Ranch.

Woodall, who improved 29-4 while claiming his third tournament crown of the season, earned a one-sided 14-1 decision over Weston Ranch’s Faga Tia in the first-place match and was the only Mantecan to win a title.

Weston Ranch boasts two champions in 140-pounder Travis Bowen and top-seeded Chris Contreras at 189.

Oakdale, which won the VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV team championships, took nine of the 14 individual titles Saturday.

The top four placers in league advance to the section’s Division IV tournament hosted by East Union next Friday and Saturday. Sierra and Weston Ranch qualified the most with seven each, not counting fifth-place alternates, among area schools. East Union had six make it through, and Manteca and Lathrop advanced four apiece.

For Bowen and Contreras, both seniors, their tournament-ending victories were sweet after runner-up finishes last year.

Bowen (36-6) came into the tournament seeded second to Sonora’s Adam Hammerback, the section’s seventh-ranked 140-pound grappler according to The California Wrestler.

Bowen took full control of Hammerback early and led 6-0 going into the third period. Bowen, who pinned his first two opponents of the day, held on late to win, 6-3.

“It was hard not to just go into survival mode,” Bowen said. “I was just trying to finish the match, and once I did it felt really good to finally win the VOL (title).”

Contreras (31-9) ran into a familiar and game opponent in Sierra’s Ray Widmer, whom he considers a close friend off the mat, in the finals. Widmer took an early 5-4 lead, but the match was twice stalled from a nosebleed.

Contreras turned the tables with a reverse to jump ahead 6-5 in the second period and won by pinfall with just seconds left in the third.

There were no hard feelings after the match, when Contreras reached for Widmer’s hand to help him off the mat.

“We both wanted it, so it was let-the-better-man-win type stuff,” Contreras said.

Sophomore Andrew Aquino of second-year Lathrop made school history Saturday becoming its first first-place VOL contender in varsity.

He was outpointed by Oakdale freshman Tyler Malone 7-3  in the 119-pound championship showdown, but just getting to that point was plenty enough reason for Aquino to feel accomplished.

“I never thought I would get this far,” he said. “Last year I was all right, but going up to varsity my freshman year actually got me better.

“It’s been a good experience so far, so from now we’ll see how far I can go in divisionals.”

The highly-anticipated 171-pound championship between Sierra’s Alex Nuanez and Oakdale’s A.C. Brown ended with a 10-0 decision in favor of Brown. Brown is ranked No. 2 in the section at 171, and Nuanez is fourth.

East Union’s Marco Castaneda, who won the 119-pound title last year, made it to the finals in the stacked 125-pound bracket, where he beat the section’s sixth-ranked wrestler in the division, Oakdale’s Cody Sleeman, before losing to No. 4 Curtis Hulstine of Ceres 16-5 for second place.

Other area runner-ups from the area were: East Union’s Jason Cortez (130) and Stevyn Teeple (135), Sierra’s Aiden Foster (152), and Weston Ranch’s Daniel Guzman (103) and Michael Salisbery (112).
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