Seven locals coming home with medals

BAKERSFIELD -- Shane Tate was in a bit of a bind Saturday afternoon.

The Oakdale High sophomore trailed Clovis' Clinton McAlester in their fifth-place match at 125 pounds at the CIF State Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena.

It was looking like Tate would go down to his third defeat at the hands of McAlester this year.

But quick as a flash, Tate turned McAlester a reversal and held his shoulders to the mat for three near-fall points at the end of the second period. Tate would go on to a 6-4 victory and a big celebration. He was one of seven Stanislaus District wrestlers to place among the top eight in their weight class, earning state medals. Merced's Chris Urquizo won the state title at 152 pounds.

"He beat be at the Doc Buchanan Tournament and then he beat me again (Friday)," Tate said. "But by now, I knew what he was going to do. He countered a lot of my moves yesterday, so today I didn't give him anything to counter."

And at the end of the second period, he got all the points he needed.

"I just kept working," Tate said. "And once I got the reversal I drove through as hard as I could, and he went with me."

As a freshman, Tate missed a state medal by one match -- a one-point loss. Not this time.

"I wrestled as hard as I could," Tate said. "I'm pretty happy with how I did."

So was his coach, Brian Stevens.

"We've got so many young guys here this year," Stevens said. "Getting a medal, that was huge. And 125s is such a tough weight class."

TURLOCK'S GARCIA TAKES FOURTH -- Turlock sophomore Fabian Garcia placed fourth at 119 pounds, his second state medal after taking seventh last year. But Garcia said he could have gone even higher.

After trailing 10-2 in the third period of his semifinal against Esteban Cabanas of Canyon Springs, Garcia came roaring back to send the match into overtime before losing on a takedown in the extra period. He regrouped with a 10-1 win over San Jacinto's Chad Thornock, then was caught and pinned by Hogan's Terry Allen in the third-place match. Garcia beat Allen for the Sac-Joaquin Section championship last week.

"Once I lost in the semis, I knew I had to win the next one," Garcia said. "My goal coming in was to place in the top four and I had to win the next one."

He was still hoping to beat Allen, which would have given him a better placement than current assistant coach Lewis Gonzalez got when he was a sophomore at Turlock several years ago.

"I'm a little disappointed with that loss," Garcia said. "Taking fourth is still pretty good. But I feel I could have done a little better."

Garcia's teammate, Brandon Egleston, placed eighth at 103 pounds. After beating McKinleyville's Ty Stevenson 7-0 in a consolation match to assure a medal, Egleston defaulted down to eighth place.

"Brandon's had a bum knee that has bothered him for much of the season," Turlock coach Mike Contreras said. "It's one of those nagging injuries that became a little worse today."

THREE MEDALISTS FOR CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- A year removed from having three wrestlers in the finals, Central Catholic continued its strong run with three medalists. Senior T.J. Belton took sixth at 152 pounds, junior Matt Galas was seventh in the heavyweight division and sophomore David Ferry was eighth at 125 pounds.

Galas, competing in his first state meet, beat Center's Daniel Gusev 10-8 in overtime for his medal.

"My goal at the beginning of the year was to get that medal here," Galas said. "I saw a lot of guys here that at the beginning of the year they were where I wanted to be at.

"I just kept working hard and I built up to where I am at their level. I feel I had a pretty good tournament. I'm happy."

Belton, however, had a rough second day. After advancing to the semifinals, he was caught in a head-and-arm and thrown to the mat and pinned by Buchanan's Martin Fabbian.

"After that first match, things went downhill from there," Belton said. "No excuses; I did better last year. This year, I feel I underachieved here."

Belton took Calvary Chapel's Tigran Adzhemyan to the wire in their fifth-place match before falling 5-4.

"It wasn't my day," Belton said.

Ferry beat Clovis North's Chris Calcagno 3-2 in their consolation match to make the medal matches. He lost 4-3 to Tate and hurt his knee in their match, defaulting to eighth.

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