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Manteca trio bounced from state tourney
Controversial takedown ends Sierra juniors season
Sierra High junior Alex Nuanez puts Cuppertino’s Martin Alvarez in a predicament in the first consolation round during the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships in Bakersfield Friday. - photo by Ike Dodson
BAKERSFIELD — Bob Blanco theatrical reenactment of a takedown at the edge of the mat inside Rabobank Arena left Sierra High junior Alex Nuanez with a small glimmer of hope, but the official would not change his stance, signaling an end to area wrestling as the last of three Mantecans saw his season come to a close.

Nuanez had battled to two big victories in his first trip to the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships Friday and is the first Timberwolf athlete to qualify to the tournament.

McNair (Stockton) senior Aaron Ceballos and Central Catholic (Modesto) senior Steven Widmer, both Manteca residents, had their careers ended Friday.

Nuanez nearly advanced to the second day, but Poway’s Austin Crider had other plans in an overtime thriller that ended with both wrestlers scrambling out of bounds. The official awarded a two-point takedown on the action, much to the dismay of Sierra’s first-year wrestling coach.

Crider won, 3-1.

“The kid from Poway must have been out of bounds by at least 7-8 inches, so it was tough to end our season like that,” Blanco said. “It was nice to get this far and have Alex wrestle so well, but that’s a tough call to take.”

Nuanez had battled back from a 16-6 loss to Tyler Wood of Modoc in the tourney opener with consecutive victories to stay alive. He beat Martin Alvarez of Cuppertino, 15-13, and scored a late takedown to top Armonda Ontiveros of Sylmar, 8-6.

“I’ll be back next year,” Nuanez said from his post, overlooking the day’s remaining action on the mats. “I was pretty happy to finish third at Masters and go 2-2 here.

“I know I could have won my last match, but I let him stay close and it cost me in the end.”

Ceballos left the mat with two heartbreaking losses that cost him a quest for his first state medal in the 130-pound division. He won his first, 12-5, but fell was edged 3-2 against A.J. Valles of Sanger one match later.

In the consolation bracket, Ceballos beat Behdod Katebian of Thousand Oaks before an 8-7 loss to El Dorado’s Michael Vargas ended his career.

Widmer finished 1-2 in a tough 125-pound bracket. He dropped a 14-5 match to San Diego Section champion Oscar Lizarraga in the opening round before ousting Northern Section runner-up Chris Harris with a 3-minute, 40-second pin. In his following match, Widmer ran into North Coast Section champion Tyler Murden, and slipped in an 11-3 bout that faded away in the final round.

“This has been nothing that I thought it would be,” Widmer said. “To get here and actually wrestle was an awesome experience. It was a nice end to my career.”

To contact Ike Dodson, e-mail