In order to participate in the yearly Valley Oak League novice tournament, wrestlers must not have placed in a prep tourney the previous year.
In 2002-2003, that rule applied to Oakdale High (then-freshman) Rudi Burtschi, who won a VOL novice title and went on to claim a 2007 state varsity title as a senior.
The VOL’s young guns were again on display Saturday at the Oakdale-hosted 2010 VOL Novice Tourney, and four of eight Mustangs collected championship honors in their respective divisions.
Joey Jacobson, Ryan Hayes, Tanner Morgan and Bailey Dryden all collected gold medal honors for Oakdale. Zack Fallentine was third while J.P. Webb also managed a victory.
“It was really good for us to see some of the mistakes we wouldn’t pick up so easily in practice,” Oakdale coach Brian Stevens said. “It’s hard to figure out some aspects of these younger kids’ skills when so many strong varsity wrestlers are also in the room.
“To dedicate a whole day to these guys was pretty good.”
35th Annual James Riddle Classic
Twenty teams will wage battle on Saturday, meanwhile, in the 35th running of the James Riddle Classic.
The tourney will see Central Section power, Buchanan, which also has a scheduled contest at Clovis West. Buchanan will bring either an A or B unit to compete with some of the better programs of the Sac-Joaquin Section at the Oakdale-hosted classic.
Perennial Central California Conference stalwarts Buhach Colony and Los Banos are also scheduled to attend, with reputable small school programs Bret Harte and Summerville also on the docket.
The 16-man bracket tourney starts at 9 a.m. and will see a smooth three-mat finale for first, third and fifth place matches.
The tournament was made possible after a huge collection of generous donations from various community sponsors at the wrestling program’s Casino Night fundraiser.
Jon Fortado with Farmers Insurance, Gilton’s Solid Waste Management, Les Schwab Tires, Safari Pizza, London Fox, Oakdale Flowers and Gifts, Central Valley Slots, Whole Health Dental, Ultimate Furniture, Central Valley Collision Center and Save Mart made the biggest contributions to the program.