Turlock claims four titles at own wrestling tourney

TURLOCK -- Johnny Gutierrez hasn't wrestled much this season.

The Turlock High senior is easing back into the game after tearing a muscle in his shoulder during the postseason last year. But he wasn't going to miss the California Bulldog Classic.

"I have a lot of friends who wrestled at Turlock," Gutierrez said. "They all say how important it is to win here. It's one of my big goals."

He was one of four Turlock wrestlers to win their weight class at Saturday's tournament at Turlock High. The Bulldogs were the team runner-up, scoring 212 points to 242.5 from champion Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills.

Downey was the other Stanislaus District school to crown a champion. Three Knights wrestlers -- twin brothers Matt and Shane Galton and Paul Snoderly -- won titles.

Gutierrez, a stout 171-pounder, watched earlier this season as teammates competed at big tournaments.

"I'm just taking it easy early," said Gutierrez, who has a 4.2 grade-point-average. "My goal is to do something at state, at the end of the season."

It took Gutierrez 57 seconds to pin the much taller Lukas Wilmore of Oak Ridge. "I like wrestling the tall guys," he said. "Their legs are a lot closer."

Downey brothers Matt and Shane Galton ripped through their weight classes.

Shane, who competes at 125 pounds, beat Andrew Hill's Richard Thompson 9-1 for the title. It was his first tournament victory of the season.

Matt, the 130-pounder, beat Oak Ridge's Derek Shupe 12-2 in their final. "My brother wrestled (Shupe) last year," Matt Galton said. "He gave me a few tips."

With a 5-pound difference, the twins don't have to look far for training partners.

"He's a great partner," Shane said; "We pretty much always pair up in our room," Matt added.

Snoderly pinned Sierra's Oscar Castro in 35 seconds in the 189-pound championship.

Gutierrez saw three other teammates win titles.

Brandon Egleston started the trophy parade when he beat Monache High of Porterville's Harley Davis 6-0 in the 103-pound championship.

Egleston kept Davis on his heels for the entire match, getting three near-fall points in the third period for the final margin. The sophomore's record may only be 12-6, but it's against a gauntlet of tough opponents.

"Before this, we were at the Clovis West Shootout and the Reno Tournament of Champions," Egleston said. "Those are some very tough tournaments with some great wrestlers. It's nice to win this one."

Fabian Garcia, a 119-pound sophomore who made Turlock High history when he became the school's first freshman to medal at the state wrestling meet, looked like he had hadn't lost a step. He beat Oak Ridge's Joey Pacific -- a fellow state meet qualifier -- 12-1 in their championship.

"One hundred and nineteen pounds is different from last year," Garcia said. "I've run into some very strong guys. But this is where I'm going to compete."

215-pounder Marco Delgado capped a banner day for the Bulldogs when he beat Nevada Union's Ralph Iriarte 3-2 in their championship.