Welcome back Dustin Harris.
The sentiment was pretty obvious for Oakdale High wrestling fans on Wednesday, Jan. 25 during Oakdale’s 55-9 Senior Night dual meet victory over visiting Sonora to clinch a Valley Oak League championship.
Harris won a one-sided contest at 170 pounds for his first action since he was sidelined with a serious knee injury on Dec. 17 of last year.
The return of Harris came just in time for Oakdale to polish off one more league championship and prepare for a tumultuous schedule of postseason action.
It all begins on Saturday when Oakdale travels to Lincoln of Stockton for a likely No. 1 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Division IV Team Duals Championships. The Mustangs carry the longest active streak of consecutive team dual titles, and are on a quest to claim their fourth straight such honor.
“Winning league was an important thing for us, and now we definitely want to win team duals,” Oakdale coach Brian Stevens said. “All the things from here on are things that we want to win and do our best in.”
Stevens said Oakdale should be healthy and ready to take on the field of Division IV teams gunning to unseat the Mustangs. Western Athletic Conference champion, Los Banos, was runner-up a season ago and will join VOL runner-up Weston Ranch and Sierra Valley Conference champion Cosumnes Oaks among the field of competitors.
Oakdale carries a dual meet win over highly touted Gilroy, so should easily escape team dual seeding with a first round bye and top overall seed. The Mustangs will likely face a round one winner in the D-IV semifinals around noon.
“We will do our best to put together a good team,” Stevens said.
Team Duals will give way to the Valley Oak League tournament in Oakdale on Feb. 11, where individuals will vie for top-four placements and a trip to the D-IV Championships at Weston Ranch in Stockton the following week.