BAKERSFIELD — Shane Tate of Oakdale and David Ferry of Central Catholic brought something to the mat Friday night that may have proven more important than their obvious skill.
Both juniors put to work a long memory.
They remembered their losses in the 2009 quarterfinals of the CIF State Wrestling Championships. Same arena. Same round. Same disappointment.
"I lost to the guy in the quarterfinals that won it," Ferry said.
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"I want to get to the final so bad," Tate said.
He'll get his chance today in the powerpacked final day of the wrestling season. Tate (130-pound class) and Ferry (135) both climbed the mountain that was too steep for them a year ago. They are gunning for state championships today, while nine others from a list of 36 Stanislaus District qualifiers will compete for medals.
While three other quarterfinalists were toppled — Turlock pair Fabian Garcia and Garrett Fortado and Oakdale's Trent Noon — Tate and Ferry anchor the district talent one more day.
As Central Catholic coach Steve Strange mused near day's end, "As soon as the whistle blows here, last week is meaningless."
A crowd of 5,723 filled a little more than half of Rabobank Arena, a house which should be filled for the title matches tonight.
Ferry, ranked third, toiled harder than virtually everyone with a 4-0 record, capping his day with a solid 5-2 win in the quarters over No. 8 Adam Hendrickson of Healdsburg. He was distracted only slightly by a tweaked shoulder early in the third period.
"I'll ice it a little," said Ferry, who placed eighth in the state last year. "I'm right where I'm supposed to be."
So is Tate, who no doubt was inspired by the presence of his former training partner Tyler Allen, the seriously injured former Oakdale wrestler honored at Friday's opening ceremonies. Tate, ranked fifth, turned a 3-2 first-period deficit into a 9-4 lead after two en route to an 15-6 rip over Spaso Ilich of Ramona.
"Shane is on fire. He's a gamer. He's relentless," said Oakdale coach Brian Stevens, who understands his guy again must be all those things in today's semifinals against No. 2 Nick Pena of Selma. "It's really a relief. He's in the medals."
Tate and Ferry already have clinched no worse than sixth place, and the top eight are awarded medals. Garcia, the two-time Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champion, sought much more. Fourth here a year ago, he was derailed emphatically 9-3 by Gabe Brown of Poway.
Garcia's sore knee, a source of concern since Five Counties in Gilroy two months ago, left him hopping painfully during the second period. In fact, Brown nearly pinned him. Turlock coach Mike Contreras hopes his star will be able to perform today.
"He most likely will go. He also has to lose a little weight," Contreras said. "He's a tough kid. I'm sure he wants to win his third medal."
Moments before Garcia's loss, Fortado — seated dismally on the mat as the match ended — tossed his headgear aside. He was upended in the 103-pound quarters 2-0 by Joe Moita of De La Salle of Concord.
Ironically, Fortado maxed out a first-period takedown last week during his 2-0 decision in the Section Masters final. But this time, he yielded the two-pointer with only three seconds left in the opening period, and it beat him.
Noon, whose injury-plagued season didn't start until a few weeks ago, was beaten 12-3 in the 152s by Nick Sierra of Lemoore. Grace Davis senior Gabe Gonzalez, the only Modesto Metro Conference qualifier, bowed out with a 1-2 record.
The most thrilling route probably was navigated by Oakdale senior Charlie Gilstrap (215), who scored a pleasing win in the consolation bracket. He stayed alive for today with a 5-2 victory over Ponderosa's Paul Buchanan, who handed Gilstrap a triple-overtime loss last week at the Masters final.
Shane and Tate know that sweet getting-even feeling.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2302.