Pick Six: Half a dozen District wrestlers take home titles

STOCKTON -- Matthew Galas spent the 2008 section Masters wrestling tournament at home on the couch, his left leg propped up and heavily wrapped after knee surgery.

"I tore my ACL while practicing with my brother one week before league," said the junior from Central Catholic High. "One year ago today, I had surgery to repair it."

He got phone updates, learning his brother Dominic won the heavyweight championship.

Friday, it was his turn.

Galas scored all his points on an early takedown and reversal, then held on for a 4-3 victory over Franklin of Elk Grove's Peter Anguiano for the heavyweight championship at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament at UOP.

Galas was one of six Stanislaus District wrestlers to win championships. The crowd, raucous at times, saw 30 district wrestlers place within the top seven in their weight classes, advancing to next week's CIF State Championships in Bakersfield.

Also winning titles:

  • Merced senior Chris Urquizo got a takedown in the final seconds of the first period and rode those points to a 3-0 victory over Central Catholic's T.J. Belton in a match between the state's top two at 152 pounds.
  • Oakdale had two champions -- sophomore Shane Tate at 125 pounds and junior Charlie Gilstrap at 215 pounds -- as the Mustangs placed third as a team.
  • Turlock also saw two of its wrestlers take titles, both of them sophomores. Brandon Egleston won at 103 pounds and Fabian Garcia took gold at 119 pounds.
  • Galas was hoping for a title.

    "I knew (Dominic Galas) won last year," Galas said. "I was hoping I'd follow him.

    "Little brother had to keep up the tradition."

    He led Anguiano 4-1 late, when he gave up a penalty point and an escape. But he didn't allow Anguiano to mount any offense after that.

    "I wasn't even here watching last year," Galas said. "To come back this year and win just makes it mean a lot more."

    The Oakdale wrestlers took different roads in the final.

    Tate had a battle with Folsom's Jake Whatley; the match was tied 2-2 with a minute left before Tate hit a reversal and got three near-fall points for the 7-2 final. Gilstrap led early, converting two failed throws by Rocklin's Brandon Barone into seven points. He nearly pinned Barone in the second.

    "I didn't want to lose in front of everybody again," said Tate, who was a section runner-up as a freshman. "I wrestled as hard as I could."

    Tate got through a murderous side of the bracket that included top wrestlers David Ferry of Central Catholic and Cody Tow of Union Mine. He beat Tow 2-1 in the semifinal.

    Gilstrap was aware of Barone's throwing style.

    "We wrestled at Foothill and he tried to throw me there," Gilstrap said. "I rolled through and got back points. It's awesome to be going to state with the momentum of a section title."

    Garcia and Allen -- who was undefeated going into the final -- grappled with each other, spinning around the mat. But somehow they ended up with Allen on his back. Garcia grabbed the headlock for the pin.

    "It surprised me how he ended up on his back," Garcia said. "If I see him again, it could go either way."

    Egleston beat Beyer's Jake Congleton in a rematch of their divisional last week.

    "It's nice to be wrestling the same guy," he said. "You already have a feel for him, what he's going to go."

    Now, he's going to state with a lot of momentum.

    "It's exciting," said Egleston, who goes to state for the first time. "I can't wait."

    And in perhaps one of the night's most anticipated matches, Urquizo beat Belton.

    "I thought about this match all day," Urquizo said. "He's very quick, he's got great movement."

    So when Urquizo took him down, he kept him there. And when he started on top in the third, he never let Belton go.

    "You have to stop his quickness," Urquizo said. "Try to keep him down if you can.

    "Who knows? Maybe we'll meet up again."

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

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