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Colunga Nails Down Third Place At State
State medalist Nico Colunga (120) takes a deep waist tilt on Bellarmines Isaiah Palomino during the third place match of Saturdays CIF State Championship in Bakersfield. Frankie Tovar/The Leader


Seven Oakdale Mustangs packed their bags and headed to Bakersfield for the 43rd annual CIF State Meet on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7. OHS seniors Logan Eaton, Nico Colunga, Max Stevens and Frankie Trent, along with junior Trevor Williams, sophomore Abel Garcia and freshman Colbey Harlan all battled their way to Rabobank Arena. Each of them has battled it out since their first match of the season in November, through the Masters Meet in Stockton to get to this point, the sought-after State Meet competition.

Colunga, who made his fourth state meet appearance, earned a third place finish in the 120 pound bracket, bringing home some State Meet hardware. Colunga finished the weekend with a 5-1 record, defeating Adrian Salgado of Martin Luther King 8-0, Andres Lopez of San Fernando via pin and outwrestling Adrian Marrufo of Dos Palos 7-4 in his first three matches. His lone loss came in a match with Durbin Lloren of Buchanan. Lloren went on to win the 120-pound championship. Colunga shook off the loss and regrouped to finish the tournament strong defeating Chris DeLoza of Clovis North and Isaiah Palomino of Bellarmine to earn his third place medal.

Eaton battled his way to an impressive seventh place finish in the tough 113-pound bracket. The senior wrestled several matches over the two days to cap off his high school career. With a strong start to his day on Friday, Eaton defeated Ryan Ritchey of Westview 7-1 in his first match. Unfortunately for Eaton, he was matched up with the eventual champion, Justin Mejia of Clovis, in his second match. Eaton fell 17-1 in the match. He remained focused, though, and rattled off a trio of wins over Chris Gaxiola of Buchanan 8-0, Jason Chua of Poway via pin and Javier Alaniz of Clovis West 9-1. Eaton then fell to Del Oro’s Landon McBride in a nailbiter, 4-3. In his final high school bout, Eaton took the mat and the match 5-3 over Alex Nunes of Alta Loma to secure his seventh place finish.

Last week Garcia was crowned the 170-pound champion at the Masters and he looked to carry that momentum into Bakersfield with him. Garcia opened up the weekend with an impressive 18-3 victory over Adrian Godines of Foothill. Garcia continued his journey after a pair of victories over Joel Villa of Citrus Hill 3-2 and Gilroy’s Mark Penyacsek 8-2. The Masters champion would face his toughest opponent when he battled it out with Anthony Valencia of St. John Bosco. Garcia got caught in Valencia’s grasp and was pinned by the eventual 170-pound champion. Garcia shook off the loss, focused on his next match and regained his confidence with a 3-1 victory over Niko Chapman of Inderkum. The sophomore’s state championship run came to an abrupt halt win he fell to Andrew Morgan of Fountain Valley, after being pinned. Garcia placed fourth in his weight class.

With a black eye, and suffering an apparent ankle injury, Trent showed up to Bakersfield with a smile on his face and determination in his eyes. The senior defeated Nick Perillo of Fallbrook 9-6 in his opening bout. Trent, however, was outwrestled 14-6 against A.J. Nevills of Clovis. Saturday, Trent regrouped and earned a 7-4 victory over Stone Escobedo of Fountain Valley. In what turned out to be the final match of his high school career, Trent fell to Christian Murabito of Saratoga. Trent went 2-2 over the weekend.

Freshman Harlan battled his way to a 2-2 finish in Bakersfield as a freshman, qualifying in his first year on the high school mats. Competing in the 138-pound bracket, Harlan started the weekend off strong as he won back-to-back matches. His first victim was Alvaro Tamayo. Harlan pinned the Arvin grappler for his first state meet victory. Oakdale’s young grappler also defeated Alec Baker of La Costa Canyon 3-0. After a promising start, Harlan’s state run came to an end after a pair of losses to Ruben Garcia of Selma 8-5 and then to D.J. Garcia of Poway 6-1.

Williams, a junior making his third appearance at the big dance, went 1-2 over the weekend. Williams earned a 13-6 victory over Michael Rodriguez of Hoover to start but his season came to end after back-to-back losses, falling to Nathan Cervantez of De La Salle 3-1 and Curtis Booth of Folsom 15-3. Williams competes in the 126-pound weight class.

Stevens, who competes in the 132-pound weight class, earned a trip to the state meet after punching his ticket at the Masters by placing fourth. Unfortunately for the senior, he never found his groove and was eliminated from the meet after two matches. Stevens fell to eventual champion Julian Flores of San Marino 3-0 and was blanked by Cameron Cox 8-0 of Dos Pueblos.

Overall, Oakdale finished eighth place as a team, scoring 70.5 points. The 2014-2015 season was a memorable one for the Mustangs. Highlights include winning their eighth consecutive Valley Oak League title, winning sections for the seventh straight year and having seven wrestlers advance to state meet.