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Youth Wrestlers Shine At State Championship

Youth Wrestlers Shine At State Championship

Oakdale Youth Wrestling Club coach Ben Martinez (left) landed two top-three finishes at the Freestyle State Championships in Fresno on June 1. He is shown here with Oakdale state champions Gabriel Martinez (from left), Colby Harlan and Faalia Martinez.

POSTED June 13, 2012 3:45 a.m.
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After a whirlwind tour of national tournaments for the Oakdale Youth Wrestling Club, the pressures of the USA Wrestling California State Freestyle Championships on June 1 were about as intimidating as a gnat in pajamas.

Oakdale wrestlers eased into 12 state medals and team championship honors in both the intermediate and novice divisions, delivering another extravaganza of podium appearances from a rapidly growing program touted as one of the best in the nation.

And it wasn’t just the youngsters getting into serious competition. Oakdale coach Ben Martinez, a 19-year-old Central Catholic graduate, landed second in the open division (men of all ages) and was third in the 18-20 Junior Fila division.

He also coached his brother, Gabriel Martinez, to a 95-pound title in the novice division. His sister, Faalia Martinez, was a 105-pound novice champion as well. Colby Harlan, a three-time National tourney place-winner this season, was also first in the novice 90-pound weight class. Other novice medals went to Dustin Chaves (second at 75 pounds), Ricky Torres (3rd-80), Cody Golding (2nd-105) and Ronnie Ochoa (8th-105).

The intermediate division was dominated by the likes of Cesar Garza (2nd-70), Braydan Abell (2nd-55), Mikey Torres (4th-55) and Jonathan ‘Moochie’ Hernandez (4th-50).

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