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Oakdale Wrestlers Claim Eighth Straight VOL Championship
Freshman Ralphie Leyva and JV Coach Abel Colunga are all smiles after Leyva claimed second place silver for the 120-pound JV weight class. - photo by DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER


On Saturday, Feb. 15 all eight high schools clashed for the Valley Oak League wrestling championship in Sonora. Oakdale, much like they have over the past seven years, dominated and claimed the title once again for an eighth consecutive year.

The event was held in Sonora’s Bud Castle Gymnasium for the final time, as the school will be relocating into the Mother Lode League next season. Former Oakdale head wrestling coach, who still stays active with the team as an assistant, Brian Stevens said “I’m going to miss coming up here. Sonora has always been a great place to wrestle.”

For the boys it was business as usual as they started the morning off with another fast start. Freshman Ralphie Leyva, who competes at 120 pounds, won his match over Sierra by pin within the first 12 seconds.

“I love wrestling. It keeps me away from trouble and it sets an example for my two younger brothers,” said Leyva after his first round victory.

Leyva would grapple his way to a silver medal in the 120 weight class for junior varsity.

Oakdale would continue its early dominance as several others captured quick victories. Junior Quinton Castaneda made short work of his first round opponent from Lathrop also winning by pin.

“Wrestling multiple matches in a single day takes everything out of you. You’re dead by the end of the day. But that’s what we prep for,” said Castaneda after his victory.

Throughout the afternoon, the Mustangs confidence rose with each passing victory. Wrestling is often thought of as an individual sport, and praised on individual accomplishments. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Junior Varsity coach Abel Colunga.

“The guys are really supportive of each other. Most high school kids thrive on individualism and their own awards. Not these kids; they’re as close to a family as it gets,” Colunga pointed out. “They are always supporting one another.”

It showed on Saturday as Oakdale wrestlers shouted from the bleachers while their teammates battled it out on the mats.

On the way to their title, Oakdale outscored the competition in a landslide. Oakdale tallied a total of 268.5 points; the next closest was Kimball who totaled 151.5 points. Oakdale held nine of the 14 final spots and would walk away with a total of 13 medals for varsity alone including Logan Eaton (106), Nico Colunga (113), Trevor Williams, who also won the Outstanding Lower-Weight Wrestler Award (120), Max Stevens (126), Abel Garcia (145), Tanner Reeves (160), Frankie Trent (170), Miguel Ibarra (195), and Cedric Vierra (285) all winning their weight class gold medals. Oakdale would also finish with two silver varsity medals claimed by Justin Jacobsen (138) and Wyatt Hjelm (220) and rounding out the medal count were Joey Jacobsen (152) and Christian Johnson (182), both earning a bronze medal. All have earned a spot in this weekend’s Division 4 Championships to be held Feb. 22-23 at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom.