In what was a fascinating 2016 for the Oakdale sports community, it is hard to choose a select few. In this week’s edition, we will have a recap of the sports events and moments that took place in the first half of the year. In the six month span, Oakdale experienced the celebration of the 65th annual Oakdale Rodeo, hard hitting MMA action and Mustang achievements on the field, in the pool, on the track and on the mat.
The wrestling Mustangs put up a total of 186 points to finish third overall as a team at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. Nine of Oakdale’s wrestlers finished in the top five of their respective brackets, including first place finishes by Dustin Chavez and Gabe Martinez.
Justin “Bushido Kid” Smitley (10-7-1) earned a unanimous decision over Art “King Arthur” Arciniega on Friday night, Jan. 29. The 30-year-old from Modesto, who trains at Oakdale Mixed Martial Arts Academy, battled his former training partner and former teammate Arciniega in front of a sold out Save Mart Center in Fresno for Bellator 148.
Over the past decade, the varsity Oakdale Mustangs wrestling team has had a headlock on the Valley Oak League (VOL). On Thursday, Jan. 28 Oakdale traveled to Modesto to grapple with Central Catholic to decide the VOL Championship. Taking 13 of 14 matches against the Raiders, Oakdale won the dual meet 67-6 to claim their tenth consecutive VOL title.
For senior Louis Marsella, his future became slightly clearer on Wednesday, Feb. 3 when he signed with Humboldt State. “The last couple of years, not knowing whether or not I would be playing football at the next level or signing with a school, it just feels great having it signed and moving forward to positive things at Humboldt State,” said the linebacker.
Oakdale’s varsity wrestling program has come down with a case of the blues. Not in the traditional depressing way, but quite the opposite. The wrestling team claimed its historic eighth straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title on Saturday, Feb. 6. Oakdale went to Lincoln High School of Stockton and brought home the prestigious blue banner. Three freshmen have stepped up to the challenge all season long and have posted impressive performances. Dustin Chavez, Cody Golding and Ricky Torres have grappled their way to big victories this season and that did not change this past weekend.
In a two day tournament featuring 21 schools in the CIF Sac Joaquin Section Division III, the Oakdale Mustangs not only hosted the event, they dominated it. Eight Oakdale wrestlers were represented in the finals on Saturday, Feb. 20 and nine total Mustang wrestlers advanced to the CIF Sac Joaquin Section Masters at Stockton Arena.
Oakdale resident Clayton Edsall participated in the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Championship in Texas and earned the title of World’s Greatest Horseman. On Feb. 20, Edsall and his gelding horse Skeets Oak Peppy went into John Justin Arena in Fort Worth, Texas and took first place in the finals of the World’s Greatest Horseman Championship. The competition consists of four events – herd work, rein work, steer stopping and fence work.
Freshman grappler Ricky Torres capped off his successful rookie season with an eighth place finish at the 2016 CIF State Wrestling Meet. Torres and four other Mustangs battled with the best of what California high school wrestling had to offer in Bakersfield.
In a pair of home non-league games, the Mustang varsity baseball team showed early season grit in a pair of victories. The team defeated Lincoln 5-1 on Wednesday, March 2 and followed that up with a dramatic 5-4 come from behind victory over Tokay.
Nearly 25 Oakdale High School seniors took on a dozen OHS staff members in a mostly friendly game of basketball in the Mustang Arena on March 9. Fans, friends, and family members packed the gym on Wednesday evening to cheer on the participants in the annual Staff vs. Seniors basketball game, where the final scoreboard indicated a 70-70 tie.
Oakdale’s T.L. Davis Sports Complex was full of nearly 2,000 baseball and softball supporters for the inaugural Oakdale Baseball Softball Association (OBSA) Opening Day ceremonies on Saturday, March 19. Throwing out the ceremonial first pitches were Oakdale City Councilman Tom Dunlop for baseball and OHS varsity softball girls coach Larry Loger for the softball program.
Loyal fans from across the United States gathered under their umbrellas and EZ Ups, bundled up in ponchos and hats and made their way to the 65th annual PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo. The weekend extravaganza saw plenty of rain and mud but did not keep the excited crowd away. “It could be hailing and we would not miss this,” said fan Anthony Maddson of Atwater. Once the veteran PRCA announcer Jody Carper spoke his first words of the day to open the two formal days of competition on Saturday, the crowd became electric and settled in for a few exciting hours of rodeo action each day. Down on the arena floor up close to the action were Oakdale’s resident bullfighter Rick Moffatt and his partner Cody Jackson, helping keep the competitors safe after being thrown by the bull or completing the required 8-second ride.
Hard-hitting Oakdale Mustang outside linebacker and strong safety, Robby Bagley has come to a decision on where he will be playing football this upcoming fall and beyond. On Tuesday, April 19 Bagley signed with the University of La Verne. Bagley will take his talents to Southern California to compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) to play for the Leopards.
The Oakdale varsity girls finished the 2016 season the same way they began it; on top. For over a decade, the varsity girls track and field team at Oakdale has dominated the Valley Oak League. On Saturday, May 7 the varsity girls placed first at the VOL Championships at Sierra High School in Manteca. Seniors Hannah Chappell and Kai Tanner powered the Lady Mustangs in the throwing events in the field portion of competition.
Oakdale High School senior Trevor Williams is well known for his wrestling abilities. The senior is a four time CIF State Championship qualifier, and though his prep season and high school career may have ended earlier this year, Williams still hits the mats hard. He recently went to Selland Arena in Fresno to wrestle in the 2016 CA USA Freestyle Open. The 138-pound grappler took first place in the tournament going 4-0 and taking out some familiar faces along the way.
In late May, four Oakdale varsity boys swimmers broke CIF Sac-Joaquin Section records. Seniors Nate Van Cleave and Rhett Harrison teamed with Jackson Metcalfe and Caden Nord to make school history and advanced to the CIF State Meet with their record-breaking performance at Tokay High School. The boys set records in the 200 Medley, the 200 Freestyle and the 400 Freestyle Relay.
A four year career came to a close for OHS senior Hannah Chappell this past weekend. The Alabama bound discus thrower competed in her final high school track and field event and went out with a bang.
For four days The Corral on the Oakdale High School campus was the host of the Armature Athletic Union (AAU) Region 22 Qualifier, as over 450 youth competitors came out to take part in the track and field events. Athletes from the local area and as far away as Oregon packed The Corral where over 900 total medals where given out to the youngsters ranging in age from 4 to 18 years old. “The most exciting thing to see is the smile on the kids’ faces when they win a medal, there is nothing better than that,” said AAU Hall of Famer and Oakdale boys cross country coach Guy Fowler following the event.
Next week, a look at top sports stories from July through December.