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Postseason begins Saturday with league tournaments
Weston Ranch’s talented 140-pounder Travis Bowen will compete in one of the Valley Oak League’s toughest divisions during Saturday’s conference tournament at Central Valley in Ceres. - photo by Bulletin file photo
One is a seasoned vet who has already wrestled at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament and is hoping to make it to state as a senior.

The other is an up-and-coming junior who came out of nowhere to dominate a rigorous weight class and now has his eyes set on a deep postseason run.

Manteca heavyweight Zach Williams and East Union 119-pounder Marco Castaneda are just two of a number of area grapplers that will head to the Valley Oak League Tournament this weekend at Central Valley High in Ceres.
Williams and Castaneda are both are expected to finish in the top four of their respective weight classes, making it through to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Tournament.

“My goal is to take first (at the VOL tournament), move on to the next one, get to sections and hopefully move on to state,” Williams said.

Williams (23-5) has trimmed down this year and he says that dropping the weight has really helped out on the mat.

“I needed to work on endurance,” he said. “I lost a little weight. I just wanted to be faster. I’ve been able to last so much longer, so I think it’s going to help, definitely.”

Buffalo 171-pounder Shane McCullar and 119-pounder Marcus Gonzales are also both expected to make it beyond Central Valley.

Gonzales, one of the area’s most respected grapplers, suffered one of two upsets Castaneda dished out when the Lancers met Manteca and Sierra in a double-dual earlier this year.

Castaneda (28-4) also took down 2008 Masters entrant Robert Howard that night, just days after claiming tournament gold at Lincoln High in Stockton, his first ever tournament championship.

“I just want to wrestle my match (at the VOL tournament),” Castaneda said. “I’m not going to be worried about what (my opponents) are doing, I just have to wrestle how I always do.

“I want to be the aggressor.”

Castaneda says he’s been surprised with just how well he’s been able to do this season, and that his only goal was to win at a 3 to 1 ratio. But he credits hard work and his wrestling partner, Jason Cortez, as the reasons why his winning percentage (88) has been so much higher than expected.

“I’m hoping to make it to the Masters,” Castaneda said. “And I want to do pretty good there.”

Cortez (125) is expected to finish in the top four this weekend for EU, as are Matt Neves (140), Stevyn Teeple (130), Hector Fajardo (215), Albert Aguilar (285), Parsa Davari (135) and Chuck Mayo (145).

Both Sierra and Weston Ranch will travel to Central Valley, and both are expected to not only have a number of divisional qualifiers, but possibly some league champions, as well.

Chris Contreras (189) and Eddie Reed (285) have legitimate shots at league titles for the Cougars, while Alex Nuanez (171), Austin Soto (112), Robert Howard (119) and Aiden Foster (145) could all collect tournament gold for the Timberwolves.

Ripon will make its way to the Trans Valley League Tournament at Hughson Saturday, and both Ryan Mackey (171) and Daniel Linder (119) are expected to claim tournament championships.

Christian Spence (215) and Matt Baker (285) are expected to make it through to divisionals.