Two to compete with state's elite

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Coach Torrean Tyus changed the definition of success for Rocklin High School’s wrestlers in his first season. In order to show “what you’ve got,” they would be to qualify for the state tournament. Two of his wrestlers took their new coach literally. Senior Joey Ramos and junior Shane Keefe will have an opportunity to do that Friday when they compete at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. Tyus already has one state medalist. Sophomore Olivia Seppinni brought home a medal from the state girls championships last Saturday at Lemoore High by finishing fifth at 126 pounds. Keefe recovered after losing his first match at the Sac-Joaquin Masters tournament last Friday to finish fourth at 140 pounds. Ramos also bounced back after a quarterfinal loss at 215 pounds. Ramos avenged that loss by defeating Ripon’s Travis Smith in the fifth-place match. The top seven finishers in each weight class at Stockton Arena will compete with the elite in Bakersfield. The loss was Ramos’ first in the postseason. He won his weight class at the Sierra Foothill League championships on Feb. 10 and claimed a second title at the section Division II meet on Feb. 19. Ramos dropped into the consolation bracket at the Masters meet when he was pinned by Smith with 19 seconds to go in their match. The loss left Ramos two wins shy of reaching the state meet. And it also left Ramos fuming. “I went in for a shot and ended up on my side,” Ramos said. “The ref called that a pin. That’s what I call a fluke. (The rematch) was a little more important to me. He already got one on me.” The first victory came against Will C. Wood’s R.J. Hellmann. Ramos then rolled to an 11-1 major decision against Vacaville sophomore Chris Lai, who edged Whitney senior Julio Ceron 3-2 on Friday. A 2-1 loss to Elk Grove’s Josh Letuligasenoa dropped Ramos into the fifth-place match against Smith. Ramos handled his “unfinished business” and avenged his loss to Smith with a 7-3 decision. Ceron and fellow senior Justin Martinez represented Whitney at the Masters tournament. Neither survived. Martinez lost his first two matches. Ceron was eliminated after going 2-2 on Friday. The second loss for Ceron was a heartbreaker. His match against Buhach Colony’s Luis Bojorquez went to sudden-death overtime. Bojorquez scored a takedown in the extra period to prevail. Ceron won his weight class at the section Division III tournament on Feb. 19 and was a three-time league champion with the Wildcats. His career came to an end without a trip to the state meet. Keefe punched his state ticket by winning six matches after starting with a 9-3 loss to Vacaville’s Kai Loechler on Friday. Two of Keefe’s wins came when his opponents withdrew with injuries. With the state meet just one win away, Keefe pinned Elk Grove’s Max Francesconi to earn his trip. Keefe then lost 5-2 to Union Mine’s Sean Tow in the third-place match and settled for fourth. That was than enough to send Keefe on the road with Ramos to show what they have got in Bakersfield. “When he was a freshman, I knew he would be a state contender,” Ramos said of Keefe. “I didn’t want to go to the state tournament alone.” Rocklin had three wrestlers in Stockton, but senior heavyweight Nic Cooper bowed out on Friday. Cooper lost his first match, won his next two and then was eliminated with a 1-0 loss to Ponderosa’s Riley Nooner. “I knew it would be a long road when I got in the consolation bracket,” Cooper said. “I’m satisfied.”