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Mustang Grapplers Dominate During Senior Night Bouts
Abel Garcia went 2-0 against Lathrop and Manteca this past Wednesday night. The senior earned the fastest pin of the night with a 14-second victory. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

On Wednesday night, Jan. 18 five Oakdale wrestling seniors were honored in front of the large crowd attending a Valley Oak League double dual meet inside the OHS Main Gym. Seniors Jake Abeyta, Trey Smith, Luis Ayala, Esteban Villasenor and Abel Garcia were all recognized on Senior Night 2017.

“This means a lot to me to be a senior for this program. Even though it is looked at as an induvial sport, the camaraderie with the team makes it special,” said grappler Smith.

Oakdale hosted Lathrop and Manteca, where Oakdale defeated Lathrop 64-0 and Manteca 64-9. The junior varsity boys also earned team wins, 57-6 over Lathrop and 65-9 over Manteca. Helping earn the junior varsity win for Oakdale was senior Villasenor in his final home meet with a pin fall victory against Manteca.

“It was special for me; I have only wrestled two years and have improved each day. The coaches have been great to me and have molded me into the wrestler I am today,” Villasenor said.

Earning the quickest pin of the night, senior Garcia (180) pinned his Manteca opponent, Josh Craighead just 14 seconds into the first round.

“Honestly, the whole evening pumped me up. Any time I step on the mat, I am motivated,” Garcia explained. “To be honest, my teammates and I all tried to earn the fastest pin of on the night.”

Prior to Garcia’s 14-second feat, Jake Ryan (152) earned a pin three matches earlier 15 seconds into the first round. All together Oakdale had eight victories via pin against Manteca.

Senior Abeyta (126) went 2-0 on the evening with a first round pin against Lathrop and an 11-0 technical fall against Manteca. Abeyta is a four-year varsity starter for the program.

“I have developed each day over the last four years. A big credit goes to my coaches and teammates,” noted Abeyta. “There is still a lot of wrestling left this year, and by the end of the season I want to be named State Champion.”

Over the weekend, the team headed to Sonora for the 40th Annual Robert Hatler Memorial. Four wrestlers battled their way to first place finishes. Abeyta, Ryan, Cody Golding (152) and Bronson Harmon (162) all took first place in the tournament. Dakota McNeil and Jorge Barajas took second for Oakdale, while Justin Jericoff (162) took third. A pair of Mustangs finished in the top five of their weight classes as Mauro Sandoval and Jackson Ruvalcaba each placed fifth. Drew Warren claimed sixth for Oakdale.

In junior varsity action Walter Lemons and Nick Toledo took second. A trio of Mustangs claimed third place as Beau Osmundson, Jon Singleton and Eric DeGraff all took third in the tournament.

The Mustang mat men will take on East Union and Weston Ranch at East Union High School today, Wednesday, Jan. 25. The meet is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. This weekend Oakdale will travel to Gilroy in the Bay Area for the Mid-Cals and some others on the team will stay local and compete in the Pitman Rumble in the Jungle Tournament in Turlock. Both tournaments begin at 9 a.m.