With school now back in session, student athletes have also returned to the practice facilities. Oakdale High School offers a variety of fall sports on campus. Football, volleyball, girls tennis, water polo for both boys and girls, co-ed cross country and girls golf will be the focus of these athletes and their fans.
The 2016 season will forever be etched in stone as a year to remember for the football program. For the first time in the program’s history the Mustangs won the CIF State Championship with a 47-0 victory over Bishop’s. The Mustangs return over a dozen seniors to the team, and head coach Trent Merzon is at the helm for his 17th season. The Mustangs open the campaign on the road against Sonora on Friday, Aug. 25. Last season Sonora defeated Oakdale 27-13 in Sonora. In other preseason action Oakdale will host El Capitan and Folsom before their bye week on Sept. 15. In their matchup against El Capitan on Sept. 1, it will be Mini Mustangs night.
Oakdale opens Valley Oak League (VOL) play on the road for the first two weeks when they take on East Union (Sept. 22) and then play at Weston Ranch. Oakdale’s home opener will be Oct. 6 against Manteca with Homecoming scheduled for Oct. 13 against Sierra. Their regular season finale will be a road showdown with Central Catholic on Nov. 3.
Coach Heather Gonzales returns for her third season for the volleyball girls. This Saturday, Aug. 19, Oakdale will host an all-level scrimmage and then the varsity will host Pitman on Tuesday, Aug. 22 in a scrimmage scheduled for 3:30 p.m. League play begins on Monday, Sept. 11 on the road against Sierra. The varsity Lady Mustangs went 11-1 in league play to win the VOL in 2016. Their season came to a close in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Tournament when they fell to El Camino in three sets.
Hitting the court this past week for practice and tryouts were the tennis girls. Coached by Judy Vejar, the team was hard at work. With over 30 trying out for the team, and three seniors back, the squad is gearing up for a VOL run. Tennis jumps right into action as they will travel for a pair of scrimmages beginning Tuesday, Aug. 22 against Enochs. Their VOL season opener is scheduled for a road showdown with Weston Ranch on Tuesday, Sept. 5. On Thursday, Sept. 7 the Lady Mustangs host East Union for their home opener. The match is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Diane Kline has been a successful head coach in girls water polo but this season she will be coaching both the boys and the girls. Kline is stepping in for her brother, Brian Kline, this season in taking over the boys team.
“It will be different, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” Coach Kline said about coaching the boys as well as the girls. Both programs made the postseason in 2016 with the girls advancing to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championship game against Davis, where they came up short. The girls went undefeated in league play and won the VOL title in 2016. Saturday, Aug. 19 the girls will host a scrimmage beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Oakdale will host Pitman on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m. to start the regular season.
For the boys, their season begins with scrimmage play on the road in Sonora on Saturday, Aug. 26. The boys will host Pitman on Tuesday, Sept. 5 to start league play with a 5 p.m. start time.
Endurance and discipline are needed when running cross country. The boys and girls will hit the course beginning this Friday, Aug. 18 when they host the Red and Gold Fox Trot Scrimmage at Oakdale High School. This is the only home cross country meet of the season and is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Coaches Guy Fowler and Lori Vargas are at the helm of the boys and girls teams respectively. Important dates for the team include VOL Showdown #1 on Wednesday, Sept.13; Pacific Tiger Invitational at University of the Pacific on Saturday, Sept. 23; and VOL Championship at Legion Park scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25.
Looking to stay on par this year will be the girls golf program. Coming off an impressive 2016, where they won the VOL, the golf team will hit the links on Tuesday, Aug. 22 for their first home scrimmage against Downey. Oakdale opens up regular season play against Kimball on Tuesday, Aug. 29 and will host East Union on Thursday, Aug. 31 in their home opener. Oakdale plays all of their home matches at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. This year Oakdale will also be the site of the VOL Tournament slated for Monday, Oct. 16.