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EYES ON THE PRIZE

Nuanez, WR duo still in the running

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EYES ON THE PRIZE

Sierra High 171-pounder Alex Nuanez lifts Kyle Towler of Calaveras during a consolation-bracket match in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament Friday at Stockton Arena.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 27, 2010 3:01 a.m.
STOCKTON — Sierra High junior Alex Nuanez has learned from past failure and is determined to parlay that into future success.

During the first day of last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, then held at the University of the Pacific, Nuanez blew a sizable lead in a third-round consolation match.

That was the last match of his season.

In the same round of the same tournament Friday at Stockton Arena, Nuanez didn’t let history repeat itself.

Though he couldn’t score back points against a game opponent in Mike Haman of Hogan, Nuanez was in full control while taking a 5-1 lead into the third period.

Instead of sitting on the cushion, Nuanez decided to fight fire with fire.

“I knew he was going to come after me, so I went after him and took my shots,” Nuanez said. “I had a lot of confidence because I work on my speed a lot.”

Nuanez held on to win 6-4 to keep his season alive and advance to today’s consolation Round 4 meeting with Beyer’s Zac Andrews.

Nuanez, who aims to be Sierra’s first-ever qualifier to the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships, is ranked fifth in the section in the 171-pound division according to The California Wrestler. Andrews is seventh.

Nuanez went 3-1, and his only loss Friday came in the second championship round against top-ranked Hudson Buck of Vacaville. Buck won by pinfall in 4 minutes, 29 seconds.

Nuanez is one of just three wrestlers from area schools who are a win away from advancing to the medal rounds. The top seven placers in each division earn a medal and a ticket to the state tournament March 5-6 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

Also moving on are Weston Ranch’s Travis Bowen and Chris Contreras. McNair (Stockton) senior Aaron Ceballos, a Manteca resident, guaranteed his second career state appearance with a 3-0 finish Friday.

Other than Ceballos, the 140-pound Bowen was the only area wrestler on the fast track to a state berth after a 2-0 start.

He squared off with Anthony Vega (Lindhurst), ranked fifth in the section, and scored the quarterfinal match’s first points with a takedown. The opening period was action packed, with Vega leading 9-6 going into the second.

But Bowen lost steam as the match wore on. He trailed 14-7 before getting pinned in 3:50.

Even though he’s still in position to advance to the state tournament, Bowen expected better of himself. He begins the day with No. 3-ranked Jesse Routsong of Ponderosa.

“I’m disappointed,” he said.

By contrast, Contreras, who went 2-2 in the 189-pound class, ended his day victorious.

Barely.

Contreras and Brandon Williams of Escalon were scoreless after two periods, and the former broke the tie with an early escape in the third. Williams scored a takedown for the lead but conceded a point by letting Contreras go shortly thereafter.

Contreras clinched the 4-2 win with a takedown with just 11 seconds remaining. The win set up a meeting with fourth-ranked Matt Dakin (Elk Grove).

The tournament started with 15 state hopefuls from the area.

East Union came in with five, four of them seniors, and all of them were capable of at least advancing to the second day.

Jason Cortez (130) and junior heavyweight Devon Woodall made it the furthest but dropped their final matches of the day to finish 2-2.

Also wrapping up solid seasons were Marco Castaneda (1-2, 125), Stevyn Teeple (1-2, 135) and Parsa Davari (0-2, 140).

“It’s disappointing, but my top kids were in very tough weight classes where all 32 kids know how to wrestle,” East Union coach A.J. Reindel said. “This tournament isn’t necessarily about who is the best, it’s about who wrestles the best on this day. Unfortunately, we didn’t.

“We were on the wrong end of the stick today. All my kids had high hopes to make state, but they have nothing to hang their heads about. They wrestled well and worked hard all season long.”

Ripon’s Travis Smith (189) and Christian Spence (215) both went 1-2 but had narrow losses. Smith led third-ranked Travis Smith of Benecia late in their first-round meeting but ended up losing, 6-4.

Spence hung tough with highly-regarded Charlie Gilstrap (Oakdale) in a 6-4 loss. He then dropped a 10-8 decision to Bryan Hayashida (Elk Grove).

“They both wrestled pretty tough all day but they also made some mistakes,” Ripon coach Glen White said. “Overall, we did well for having some tough draws early on.”

Also competing Friday were Sierra’s Aidan Foster (2-2, 152) and Ray Widmer (1-2, 189); and Weston Ranch’s Michael Sailsbery (1-2, 112), Joe Anthony Gomez (0-2, 130) and Faga Tia (1-2, 285).
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