Five survive in wrestling

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Joey Ramos and Julio Ceron have more in common than wrestling in the 215-pound class for their respective high school teams. The two seniors are both Sac-Joaquin Section division champions. Ramos was one of two Rocklin wrestlers to reach the finals at the Division II tournament last Saturday at Hiram Johnson High in Sacramento. The other was junior Shane Keefe at 140 pounds. Keefe lost to Del Oro’s Austin Branum, leaving Ramos as Rocklin’s last hope for a title. Ramos defeated Granite Bay’s Kevin Blank to add the division crown to his Sierra Foothill League title. First-year Rocklin coach Torrean Tyus will take three wrestlers to the Masters meet Friday at Stockton Arena. The top six finishers in each weight class at the Division II meet will travel to Stockton. The third Rocklin representative will be senior heavyweight Nic Cooper, who placed third last Saturday by defeating Casa Roble’s Todd Nunez. Cooper lost to Nunez last Friday in his opening match. Whitney will send two wrestlers, Ceron and fellow senior Justin Martinez, to the Masters tournament. Only the top four finishers in each weight class at the Division III tournament qualified for the Masters meet. Martinez qualified to join Ceron by finishing fourth at 119 pounds last Saturday. Ceron defeated Natomas’ Jorge Collado in the finals to claim his second championship in two weeks. He was also a winner at the Capital Athletic League tournament to earn his third league title. This was Whitney’s first season in the CAL. Ceron was a two-time champion in the Pioneer Valley League. Despite all his success, Ceron is seeking his first trip to the state tournament in Bakersfield. If his performances in the past two weeks are any indication, Ceron will not be denied a third time. “He’s not messing around,” Whitney coach Dan Parker said. “He wanted to make it to state last year, but he fell short at Masters. When he wins, he doesn’t celebrate. He knows he’s not done.” Martinez pinned Lincoln’s Taylor Unbehaun in his first match and then lost to Woodland’s Michael Lopez. Martinez won two consolation matches, leaving him one victory away from a Masters ticket. His third consolation victory came without Martinez stepping on the mat at Natomas High in Sacramento. Pioneer’s Justin Wilson failed to make weight Saturday after advancing to the semifinals. Martinez was to face the loser of that semifinal match, but Wilson’s forfeit gave Martinez a free pass. Martinez was guaranteed fourth place and advancement to the Masters meet when he faced Lopez for a second time. Martinez had nothing to lose and was pinned by Lopez in the first period. The Sac-Joaquin Section will send seven wrestlers in each weight class to the state meet March 4 and 5. That is all that matters to Tyus, a two-time state qualifier during his days at Woodcreek High. “I don’t care where they place at (the Masters meet) as long as they get in the top seven,” Tyus said. “Once you get to state, that’s when you can show what you’ve got.” Tyus already has one wrestler competing in a state tournament. The only girl on his team, sophomore Olivia Seppinni, will travel to Lemoore High to wrestle in the girls championships Friday.