State

Central Catholic's Belton heads wrestling class

Louis Bland. Rudi Burtschi. Trevor Machado-Ching. Dominic Galas. Steven Vasquez.

The Stanislaus District enjoyed a banner year of wrestling last year, as those five wrestlers combined for six state championships and nine state finals appearances.

Those wrestlers are gone, graduated and off to college. But the wrestling talent across the district is still very strong.

In their place are wrestlers such as T.J. Belton, Fabian Garcia, Chris Urquizo, Maverick Ille and Oliver Congleton.

Central Catholic senior T.J. Belton was a surprise state semifinalist at 152 pounds last year. He blossomed on the football field as well, rushing for over 1,000 yards for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V runner-up Raiders.

Belton returns for his senior year and is a leader for Central Catholic.

Turlock sophomore Fabian Garcia was a big surprise as a freshman. He snuck into the CIF State Meet after placing eighth in the Sac-Joaquin section, then caught fire and placed seventh in all of California.

He's Turlock's first freshman to win a state medal.

Merced senior Chris Urquizo was a state finalist as a sophomore, then missed his junior season. Should Urquizo hang around for the entire season, he'll be a force to be reckoned with.

Beyer's Oliver Congleton is one of several Modesto Metro Conference wrestlers who could make some noise.

Watch out for Congleton as well as Davis' Mike Crowell and Gabe Gonzalez, and the Galton brothers from Downey, Shane and Matt.

The MMC dual championship could be decided as early as tonight, when top contenders Davis and Downey meet at Downey at 7:30 p.m.

Central Catholic also has a strong dual team, with top wrestlers such as Belton, Andrew Perez, Ille, Steel Rocha and Matt Galas.

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at wdeboard@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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