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Mustangs Win 10th Straight Wrestling Section Title
Wrestling at 128 pounds, Mustang grappler Ethan Holcomb won his match against this Bear Creek athlete via pin in the first period of the semi-finals on Saturday. Leader Photos By Dennis D. Cruz

This past Saturday the Oakdale Mustangs wrestling team went into Lincoln High School of Stockton with one goal: Bring home the blue banner. Mission accomplished as the Mustangs defeated Vallejo 79-12 in the first round; Bear Creek 65-12 in the semi-finals and dominated Benicia 62-12 in the finals to win the 2018 CIF Sac-Joaquin DIII Section Championship.

“This was great, not long ago our football team lost the section finals here, and as a wrestler and football player, I could not go through the letdown again at this school,” said Jorge Barajas of the team’s Section finals record tenth straight win on the mats.

Oakdale felt rested in heading into the semi-finals and started the round with four straight pins to jump out to a 24-0 lead. Their momentum continued throughout the rest of the round and Oakdale slammed the door shut on Bear Creek when Barajas rallied from a three-point deficit in the third period. Barajas got the crowd on their collective feet when he earned two points on a reversal and took the lead with a takedown. Barajas went on to win 8-6 following an injury to his competitor.

“It was a big win, we wanted to come here and win as a team. I just wanted to help any way I could;” Barajas noted.

In the finals the team met Benicia, which had earlier defeated Edison and Vista de Lago to advance to the finals. The Mustangs won their final seven matches of the evening against Benicia to bring home the banner.

With the score 21-6, Dakota McNeil won in dramatic fashion. Entering the third period scoreless, McNeil broke the tie with a reversal late in the final period to grab the win. Oakdale earned quick pin victories by Ricky Torres, Jake Ryan, Gabe Martinez and Colbey Harlan. Braydon Abell and Clayton Bashor also earned pin victories and Cody Golding notched a win, as did Eric DeGraff.

This weekend, the boys head to Weston Ranch for the Valley Oak League championships. Oakdale has won the Valley Oak League 11 consecutive seasons. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10.