Eight Bret Harte wrestlers begin their bids for State Tournament berths tomorrow in the Sac-Joaquin Section Tournament at Pitman High in Turlock.
Action begins at 9 a.m. both tomorrow and Saturday, with the top five in each weight class advancing to the state event March 7 and 8 at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Heading the Bret Harte contingent is Small-School Sub-Section champion T.J. Dillashaw, a 114-pound junior. He has a first-round bye, then opens against either Robert McDaniel, a junior from Nevada Union of Grass Valley, or Brad Mendenhall, a sophomore from Atwater.
McDaniel finished third in the Northwest Sub-Section, Mendenhall sixth in the South Delta.
The most dangerous wrestler on Dillashaw's side of the 24-slot bracket could be Los Banos senior Willie Gaxiola, the South Delta champion. On the other side are such luminaries as archrival Sam Fragoza of Calaveras, Curtis Schurkamp of Escalon, and Northeast champion Micah Ferguson from Del Oro of Loomis.
Dillashaw (40-5) beat Fragoza for the Mother Lode League championship and Schurkamp for the sub-section title last week at Amador High in Sutter Creek. Barring upsets, Dillashaw and Gaxiola will meet in the semifinals.
In other first-round matchups for Bret Harte, 105-pounder junior Seth Mitchell (12-9) meets Luke Manuel, a freshman from Nevada Union; 121-pound senior Josh Grimes (29-10) goes against Chris Schaller, a sophomore from Bella Vista of Fair Oaks; 127-pound junior Jerryd Middleton (18-18) meets junior Michael Halby of Nevada Union; 137-pound sophomore Jordan Borean (15-15) takes on Napa senior John Pole; 142-pound sophomore Justin Middleton (32-11) tackles Jimmy Griffiths, a junior from Tokay of Lodi; 154-pound junior Thomas Smith (15-14) meets Granite Bay senior Ron Loder; and 217-pound senior Edwin Broglio (15-14) goes against senior Shane Mervau from Sheldon of Elk Grove.