Trent Noon's determination clung as tightly to him as the Oakdale High wrestling singlet that gripped his body.
The nine Oakdale High student athletes who qualified for Friday's opening day of the California Interscholastic Federation Wrestling Championships have a long and arduous road ahead of them if they are to win, or even medal.
One by one, Division I girls soccer teams representing high schools in the Central Valley have been downed by Division IV Oakdale.
If Kimball High's Trent Nicholson thought last week's Division IV wrestling final at 135 pounds was going to be any easier than the Valley Oak League championship match he saw with Oakdale senior Shane Tate the previous week, he was badly mistaken. Tate viciously manhandled Nicholson at will to nab 14 points in just one round. An early second round takedown brought Nicholson straight to his back, where three more near-fall points preceded a pin and the most dominant rout of any wrestler to reach the finals.
The medal podium at the Stockton Arena is swarmed by a crowd of Oakdale High wrestlers after the Mustangs landed a first place team title at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships. Pictured are (from top left) Dustin Harris, Shane Tate, Juan Garza, Garrett Fortado, Trent Noon, A.C. Brown, Tanner Feuerstein, Ronnie Stevens, Tyler Noon (bottom left), Tyler Malone, David Ferry, Miko Arpoika, Hondo Arpoika, coach Brian Stevens, coach Dan Casey and coach Brendt Noon.
Oakdale High varsity boys basketball coach Jeremy Fields has a special place in his heart for the six Oakdale High seniors he has mentored through the boys basketball program for four seasons. Not only were they his first crop of freshmen to instruct, but also this year's standout leaders in a varsity program that has played through a roller coaster season in 2010-11.
By the time A.C. Brown took the mat for Oakdale High's final match of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Wrestling Championships, it had become obvious how much D-IV fans had grown tired of seeing Mustang limbs lifted into the air via referee on Saturday.
Oakdale High's varsity girls basketball team showed some signs of life after a 16-15 lead over playoff-bound Sonora on Thursday, but a nine point halftime deficit led to a three-point third quarter swing and a tough 16-4 Sonora rally in the final period for a 58-34 Lady Mustang loss in the season finale.
It would have been nearly impossible either way after No. 16 Hogan's season-ending upset of Vallejo, but Oakdale High's varsity boys basketball team saw their last postseason prayer go unanswered in a 54-38 loss to Sonora in the final game of their season on Friday, Feb. 18.
All 14 varsity Oakdale High wrestlers finished top-5 in their respective Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championship brackets on Saturday to advance the entire lineup to this week's SJS Masters in Stockton. Oakdale won nine weights and bested all opposing D-IV programs by a landslide of points to dominate the divisionals in one of the best showings of their already impressive season. See Wednesday's print edition of the Oakdale Leader for additional photos, results and interviews with Mustang grapplers.
At No. 19 on the third release of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings, Oakdale High School's varsity boys basketball team is close enough to sniff a playoff qualification (top 16).
The buzz started before the wrestling did, when coaches, fans and participants at the 2011 Valley Oak League Wrestling Championships learned that Alex Nuanez of Sierra had cut from 189 pounds to enter the 171 bracket.
The Oakdale Inferno Competitive girls soccer team toppled Danville in a thrilling penalty kick finale to claim championship honors in Stockton tournament action on Sunday. Get all the details in this weeks paper, February 16, 2011.
If Monday's first release of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings proved anything, it's this - mediocrity will get you nowhere.
The deeper a football season goes, the larger a toll it has on winter sports programs.
With a host of wrestlers still competing on Oakdale High's state-bound football team, the Mustang program is missing some serious depth.
The last non-pigskin selection for the Oakdale Leader Athlete of the Week this fall belongs to Oakdale High's varsity volleyball team. The girls bested Pioneer in four games to advance to the second round of the postseason, adding prestige to a terrific season that included a co-Valley Oak League championship.
Chasing a five-goal deficit in the fourth and final period of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championships water polo finals, Katie Vanderburg and Emily Stolken connected with stunning scores within a one-minute span to open the door for a possible Oakdale High comeback.
Some postseason magic carried eighth seeded Oakdale High to a spirited 3-1 rout of No. 9 seed Pioneer in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs on Nov. 6, but happy thoughts couldn't do the trick in a 3-0 loss to No. 1 seed Oakmont two days later.
The first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II girls water polo playoffs wasn't particularly kind to Capital Valley Conference No. 3 seed Del Campo, who fell 17-7 to Valley Oak League champion Oakdale on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Whitney High.
If Oakdale High's varsity boys soccer team had any questions on the type of game to expect from a Central Valley team in search of its third trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section finals in four seasons, they certainly had them answered quickly on Oct. 30.
Despite the tiebreaker that forced the Lady Mustangs to enter the 2012 Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs with the lowest possible seed, Oakdale's girls tennis team didn't go down without a fight. They ended their season with a 5-4 loss to Whitney on Monday, Oct. 29 in the opening round of the postseason.