It's Sweet 16 for local wrestlers

STOCKTON -- Jake Congleton raised both arms in the air, looking to the seats of Spanos Center. Josh Delgado ran to his right, hands to his face before pointing to his family. Matt Galton grabbed his coaches in a bear hug.

All three had different celebrations, but they were all happy for the same season. They'd just won quarterfinal matches at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament on Thursday, guaranteeing berths to the CIF State Meet.

The three were among 16 Stanislaus District wrestlers who advanced to the semifinals. An additional 34 district wrestlers are alive in the consolation bracket, where they need two wins to make state.

Wrestling continues today at Spanos Center with the consolation quarterfinals beginning at 9 a.m., the semifinals at 10:15 a.m. and the championships at 3:30 p.m.

Congleton, a 103-pound sophomore from Beyer, beat Oakdale's Jake Butler 11-6 in their quarterfinal. Midway through the match, Congleton had the big move.

"I hit an outside carry," Congleton said. "Two points and I got a three-point near-fall, too.

"It gave me a pretty good lead."

He'll face Escalon sophomore Christian Franks, who beat Armijo's Josh Pineda 11-4 in their quarterfinal.

"We've wrestled four times, and we're 2-2," Congleton said.

This match will be their most important one, though.

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Delgado, a Davis High senior who competes at 119 pounds, entered his quarterfinal against Elk Grove's Joe Rodriguez with some confidence.

"I'd beaten him before," Delgado said. "I was feeling pretty good."

But Rodriguez only trailed by a point late in the second period. Delgado dominated the third period en route to a 15-8 win, although there were earlier moments where it seemed the match could go either way.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to do it," Delgado said. "But now I'm just so happy.

"It's been my dream and my parents' dream for me to go to state since my sophomore year. And now we're going."

Downey High's Galton, a senior 130-pounder, hasn't won a postseason tournament. In the Modesto Metro Conference tournament and Division I South Championships, he was a runner-up to Beyer's Oliver Congleton.

But Thursday, Galton beat Central Catholic's Steel Rocha 8-3 in their quarterfinal to move two wins from a Masters title.

"It's crazy," said Galton, who was eliminated on the first day of this tournament last year. "I've only been on varsity for two years and now I'm going to state."

He'll face off against Del Oro's Connor Morgan this morning for a chance at the championship.

Oakdale's Trent Noon, a sophomore 145-pounder, is one of four Mustangs to make the semifinals. The Oakdale wrestlers have their team at 74.5 points, in third place in the team race behind Vacaville (103.5) and Oak Ridge (80).

Noon beat Los Banos' Greg Hartman -- the Division I South champion -- 9-6 in their quarterfinal. Noon didn't even make it to Masters as a freshman.

"I just kept wrestling hard, all summer," Noon said. "I guess I just got better."

He and Hartman looked to be going down to the wire, but an escape just at the edge of the mat in the final seconds proved to be the difference.

"Getting that escape was big," Noon said. "With that lead, he could still take me down and I still would have had a lead."

He's got Vacaville's Taylor Hodel, a state-ranked wrestler, in today's semifinal.

Turlock joined Oakdale with four semifinalists.

The Bulldogs saw Brandon Egleston (103 pounds), Fabian Garcia (119), Taylor Mobley (189) and Marco Delgado (215) win all three of their Thursday matches.

Egleston had a thrilling quarterfinal, beating Central Catholic's Tanner Feuerstein 4-3 on a reversal with five seconds left. Garcia wasted little time getting to the semis; he pinned Calaveras' Brandon Rutledge 1:22 into their quarterfinal.

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at or 578-2300.

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