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Area wrestlers closing in on Big Valley Classic finals
Jose Cortez ran into an obstacle late in the championship bracket, but will try to close out the 4th Annual Big Valley Classic with a medal.
STOCKTON — The 4th Annual Big Valley Classic Wrestling Tournament saw 75 wrestling programs show up looking to seize an opportunity for a strong showing in a challenging tournament, and for a handful of area wrestlers that opportunity is close to becoming reality.

Lathrop High’s Luis Oregel along with Sierra’s Alex Nuanez and Jose Cortez all made lengthy opening-day runs in the championship bracket, with all three less than three wins from a championship.

Oregel crept through the quarterfinal round with a come-from-behind 12-10 decision over Miguel Aceves of Florin High. Oregel trailed late in the third round but tied things up 10-10 before a stoppage with 42 seconds remaining.

Oregel fought out Aceves’ grasp for a two-point reversal, putting his championship run in good position with a day of action remaining.

“It was pretty intense,” Oregel said of his 126-pound win. “I thought that I was going to lose it. I knew I had to win to take (momentum) into the next day.”

Nuanez is on the fast track to a 190-pound crown, closing day one two wins from the title after pinning Jonathan Castellow of Exeter at the 5:42 mark. Nuanez’ teammate Jose Cortez saw his championship hopes take a hit on the chin when he dropped a 7-0 decision to Steven Cox of Placer High.

Cortez will have to take the long road to the medal podium, falling to the consolation bracket for the remainder of the tournament. The same is the case for Sierra freshman Keano Calderon whose championship bracket run closed in his second match ended in a loss by pin.

East Union’s Devon Woodall is bruising his way through the consolation bracket after dropping 3-2 double-overtime loss to slip from the championship bracket. Woodall quickly responded by posting a pair of quick pins, one coming in just 13 seconds. Lancer Felipe Duran posted a 6-3 win to keep his consolation bracket run going after dropping a championship match to Francisco Tejeda of Buhach Colony.

Action will get underway at 9 a.m., with the remaining consolation action along with the Hard Luck Tournament for the wrestlers who started 0-2. Top-eight individuals will be recognized as well as the top-ten teams. Championship rounds will not begin until 5:30 p.m.