In a two day tournament featuring 21 schools in the CIF Sac Joaquin Section Division III, the Oakdale Mustangs not only hosted the event, they dominated it. Eight Oakdale wrestlers were represented in the finals on Saturday, Feb. 20 and nine total Mustang wrestlers will be advancing to CIF Sac Joaquin Section Masters at Stockton Arena next weekend.
Oakdale took first place overall in the tournament as a team with a first place 249.5 total points. To give you an idea of how dominant Oakdale was, Vista del Lago came in second place with 221.0 points and Inderkum placed third with 209.5 total team points.
In order to punch a ticket to Masters, one step away from State, wrestlers must place fourth place or higher in their respective weight class. Advancing to next weekend’s big dance are Dustin Chavez, Jake Abeyta, Cody Williams, Ricky Torres, Trevor Williams, Gabe Martinez, Bronson Harmon, Cody Golding and Matt Kjeldgaard.
Freshman Chavez (106) made short work of his three opponents over the two days. Chavez earned a 15-2 major decision in his championship match to claim first place honors.
“It feels great knowing that I am one step closer to my season goal. I want to place at State,” said Chavez.
Junior grappler Jake Abeyta (113) put away Austin Cook of Yuba City, Anton Boyko of Mira Loma and capped off his near perfect weekend with a finals pin over Zach Steving of Christian Brothers 1:35 into the first period.
Fellow junior Cody Williams (120) kept things rolling for the Mustangs with a trio of victories of his own. In the finals, Williams matched up with a familiar foe, Sierra’s Branden Rullan. Williams and Rullan have matched up on different occasions this season as the two Valley Oak League grapplers faced off once more for a divisional championship. In a tight first period, Williams led 5-3 after the first two minutes. Williams controlled the pace in the second period to take a 7-3 lead into the final period. After scoring on a takedown, Williams took a 9-5 lead to win the championship.
Oakdale’s freshmen have been impressive this season. Much like Chavez, teammate Ricky Torres (126) dominated this past weekend. Torres put away his first two opponents via fall then battled VOL foe Steven Abbate of Central Catholic in the finals, winning by pin.
“It is pretty exciting for me to advance to Masters. Winning my finals match really boosted my confidence heading into next week,” said Torres.
Trevor Williams (132), one of three Oakdale seniors, punched his ticket to Masters for the fourth time. Williams defeated a pair of River City hopefuls in the early rounds and clashed with Joshua Elder of Casa Robles in the finals, winning by pin.
“It’s a whole different environment now. This is where all the hard work needs to pay off. This is for State. In Masters you have to be ready to wrestle, do not take anyone lightly,” Williams said of the upcoming tournament.
Oakdale’s run of champions came to a halt when freshman Gabe Martinez (138) fell to senior Danny Abbate of Central Catholic. The battle between the senior and freshman captivated the entre gym as the match came down to the final seconds of combat. Entering the second period tied at two, Abbate took a 3-4 advantage late in the second to enter the final period with a slight edge. Martinez tied the match with an escape with less than one minute to go in the period. As time was winding down on both competitors, Abbate took a late advantage with less than 15 seconds remaining in the finals match on an escape of his own. Abbate circled the mat with his hands up and was awarded the match as time ran out.
Junior Bronson Harmon (152) will be making his second trip to Masters after an impressive championship run. After a scoreless first period, Harmon and Aaron Benton of River City would go the distance with Harmon coming out on top with an 8-4 victory in the finals.
“It takes hard work, dedication, motivation and determination just to get to Masters. You have to push yourself to the limit to advance to State. I am looking to dominate whoever steps on the mat with me from this point on,” Harmon said.
Oakdale’s final freshman to advance was Cody Golding (160). The freshman finished 2-2 for a fourth place finish, just enough to carry him to Masters.
Oakdale’s final Masters representative came from the heavyweight sophomore, Matt Kjeldgaard. He squared off in the final match of the two-day tournament against Jack Farley of River Valley. From start to finish, Kjeldgaard outwrestled his opponent and claimed a convincing 9-1 victory to advance to Masters.
“I am more impressed with the team. I really wanted the team to win another blue banner, and I knew that if I could win, then the team had a great chance to win. I worked really hard this offseason and I am excited to go to Masters next week,” Kjeldgaard stated.
The Masters will be held at Stockton Arena on Friday, Feb. 26 and the finals will be Saturday, Feb. 27 with wrestling action beginning at 9 a.m. both days.