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Mustang Grapplers Take Runner Up Honors At Morningstar

POSTED December 23, 2013 10:42 p.m.

Logan Eaton doubled up on 2012 title at the Morningstar Invitational; Trevor Williams pinned, pinned and majored Josh Bustamante 15-7 in the final, middleweights Tanner Reeves and Abel Garcia took home titles and along with a third place by Justin Jacobsen, Frankie Trent and Nico Colunga, the Oakdale Mustangs went on to finish second as a team at the Morningstar Invitational in Los Banos.

Working through the lineup, the Mustangs had a hole at 106 pounds, as Cody Williams sat out the tournament, while at 113 pounds junior Logan Eaton moved to 9-1 after the Morningstar title, while Eaton took home his second straight title with a 7-3 decision over Bear Creek’s Aaron Rugnao after putting away his first two opponents with pins in under a minute, 4-2 win over Tanner Browning to go to 12-0 on the season.

But this week’s upcoming Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno brings the truth and the Mustangs lineup was dealt a blow as the season started when returning state qualifier and state-ranked Max Stevens suffered a knee injury in practice and will be shelved for five months for rehab.

Stevens who, along with Darus Nelson and Brock Whiting, are part of a trio of football tailbacks coming back for the Mustangs.

In the team race on Saturday, the Mustangs were runner-ups at the Morningstar, finishing behind Golden Valley 232-179 after running the field last year highlighted by Jack Jacobsen’s defeat of Kimball’s Trent Nicholson.

While this year’s version doesn’t field as deep of a team and had holes in lineups, expect deep runs from several or more Mustangs in Reno including neighbors Nico Colunga and Logan Eaton. For the young season, Eaton has two titles and no losses while Colunga has taken two thirds and close losses in each tournament.

Williams finished in first for the second straight week and is now 9-1 on the year. Trent defeated Clovis’s B team Ethan Rutherford 1-0 to take home third place and will be a sight to see when he frees up and finds his offense, while Justin Jacobsen had two pins in under two minutes in his first two matches against Merced’s Ronald Rodriguez before falling 10-7 in the semi-final to Patterson’s Manuel Cruz; finishing in third after pinning Bellarmine senior Nicolas Guerrero again in under two minutes to bump his record to 9-3 on the year.

Garcia is now 12-0 on the season after pinning, tech-falling Golden Valley’s Christian Abarca, defeating Jasper Juragui from Central Coast power Gilroy 6-0 in the semi-finals and Ruger Wyneken 8-4 in the finals. Reeves stepped up again, pinning Robert Zapeda, Brad Gill from Patterson and Tristain Smith from Buhach Colony before putting a 4-0 shutout on Jordan Scruggs of Sierra Pacific.

The Mustangs development of football players Bailey Dryden and juniors Wyatt Hjelm and Christian Johnson will be crucial to a strong post-season finish. Hjelm, banged up after a physical season and playoff run, injury defaulted out and Johnson did not compete, while Dryden finished in second place after opening with a pin of Francisco Plascencia from Patterson in 4:58 seconds of action, then decisioned Daniel Fernandez from Los Banos in a 7-5 bout. Dryden was pinned in the finals in 3:57 by Anthony Stenchkie of Sierra Pacific.

Tanner Reeves took home another title and expects a strong tournament at Reno, as he competed in last spring’s Reno World of Wrestling and will be a year more familiar with the Reno’s Livestock Center cold surface, early-round pretender-from-contender separation.

Reeves is ready, and so is the lightweight group of Eaton, Colunga and Williams who are largely ahead of the local tournament curve, but the season gets more serious with the Sierra Nevada Classic coming up on Dec. 27 and 28.

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