TURLOCK — It's hard to have a better performance than Turlock High wrestler Rafael Herrera had on Thursday.
The Bulldogs' 120-pounder recorded three first-round pins on his way to an individual title and also helped Turlock hold off Golden Valley to win the the outright conference title at the CCC Championships at Pitman High.
Turlock finished with 220 points to edge out Golden Valley's 216.5 to win the team title.
"Pin, pin, pin. Nobody got out of the first round against Rafael," Bulldogs coach Mike Contreras said. "He earned the most team points for us today. As close as the score was those points came in handy."
It was an up and down day for Turlock, starting at weigh-ins before the tournament, where Bulldogs freshman Brady Eagleston didn't make weight at 108 pounds. Eagleston was one of three CCC wrestlers who didn't make weight Thursday morning.
Turlock contested the scales used for weigh-ins. Eventually phone calls were made to Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Pete Saco and CIF State wrestling rules interpreter Duane Morgan and the wrestlers were not allowed to compete.
The Bulldogs advanced eight wrestlers to the finals, but only Herrera, Jason Valdovinos (113 pounds) and Ricardo Garcia (220) took home individual titles.
"It wouldn't have been this close if our 108-pounder makes weight this morning," Contreras said. "We had to move up a (junior varsity) kid (Nicholas Gutierrez), who ended up qualifying as a true fourth.
"We put eight in the finals and only come away with three champions. That was a little disappointing, but we qualified 12 of 14 guys for next weeks divisional tournament, and hopefully the team score holds up and we win an outright championship."
Herrera was definitely a bright spot for the Bulldogs as he used his favorite move to pin Golden Valley's Aaron Ramirez 45 seconds into their match.
"I got the takedown and I was able to get the cross cradle," Herrera said. "That's my move."
It was an impressive showing for Buhach Colony, Atwater and Merced, which all had three wrestlers take home titles.
Robby Sanchez (145 pounds), Cesar Sotelo (170) and Carlos Gutierrez (285) won championships for the Thunder.
Kyle Thorpe (160), Alex Oseguera (182) and Jo Jo Ochoa (195) all brought back titles to Atwater.
Thorpe won a tough matchup against Turlock's Albino Orozco.
The Atwater senior came back after giving up a first-round takedown. Thorpe scored on an escape and a late takedown in the second round to take a 4-3 lead into the final round. He then rode Orozco out the final 2 minutes to secure the win.
"Orozco is a tough guy to shoot at because he always seems to be in really good position," Thorpe said. "I kept following that front leg. I kept shooting and 20 shots later, I finally got it."
Merced sent five wrestlers to the finals with Adam Vargas (106), Mark Taijeron (132) and Isaiah Alva (138) all winning championships.
Taijeron paid back Turlock's Isaac Bertolotto for two losses earlier this season with a 5-2 win..
"I just tried to stay on his legs this time," Taijeron said. "If you go in high he likes to throw. I tried to take that away. I think I just wanted it more than him this time."