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Sports Headlines: July To December 2015
Oakdales girls water polo team was crowned Section Champions for the third year in a row. Here, the squad with coach Diane Kline, far, right, celebrate their three-peat after taking down Del Oro. Photo Courtesy Of Jolene Thompson


Last week we recapped memorable sports stories from January to June of 2015 that graced the pages of The Oakdale Leader. This week, we continue the look back on the storylines that took place during the second half of 2015. From action under the Friday night lights, welcoming new coaches, league champions, to epic soccer playoffs, and more, there was plenty of sporting news in the community.



Fight fans flocked into the Merced County Fairgrounds to cheer on local amateur mixed martial arts action over the weekend. The hard-hitting four-hour event, Hoplite Fight Productions’ “Finished: No Judges Required” took place on Saturday night, July 18. Eleven fights, featuring fighters from Oakdale, Escalon, Fremont, Turlock and other various California locations, saw them enter the octagon and compete in front of their fans. A pair of Last Stand fighters claimed vacant titles as Anthony “Homicide” Howard took home the men’s flyweight championship and Brit “Boogeyman” Lippencot walked away with the welterweight title.

Oakdale’s competitive travel soccer team, The Gunners, an Under 16 boys team made their trip to Seattle, Washington recently to compete in the Regional Finals. Although the team went 0-3 during the trip; they brought home valuable lessons from their experience.

Under a brightly shining summer sun, Saturday, July 25 brought the final swim meet of the season for the Oakdale Gators swim team. The event took place at Oakdale High School’s Aquatic Center in front of a large amount of swimmers and their fans from five other cities, along with a few hundred Oakdale faithful. Tracy, Turlock, Lodi, Atwater and Davis all brought their young swimmers to town for the big meet, hosted by the Oakdale Gators.



As summer came to a close, Oakdale High School senior Paige Barton made the most of it. Her final five weeks of summer break were spent taking top honors in multiple horse reining events statewide. The 17-year-old began riding horses at the age of six and picked up the sport of reining approximately five years ago. Barton and her six-year-old quarter horse, Gator, dominated the reining circuit this summer.

Oakdale teen Adrianna Adams, 15, returned to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the 2015 American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) Built Ford Tough World Show earlier this summer. Among the dozens competing, Adams placed fourth overall in the Youth Boxing event that was held from July 31 through Aug. 8 in front of thousands of appreciative fans.

Helmets on, shoulder pads strapped down, the youngest boys of fall, future Mustangs, returned to the field on Saturday, Aug. 22 for the Oakdale Stampede Youth Football Round Robin event. Oakdale played host to four local youth football teams in an all-day five-way gridiron battle.



Setting the stage, fans entering The Corral at Oakdale High School on Friday night – whether they were hometown supporters or came down the hill for the contest – all saw the sign. “It is not just a game, it is tradition” was the message fans saw when entering The Corral. Friday night was the 99th meeting between Oakdale and Sonora, where Oakdale declawed the Wildcats 41-15 in the first preseason game of the 2015 campaign.

The Lady Mustangs hosted Lathrop for their 2015 VOL opener on Thursday night, Sept. 17. Oakdale got off to a hot start and never cooled off as the Lady Mustangs varsity volleyball girls won in three sets 25-6, 25-13 and 25-4.

Tuesday, Sept. 15 the Lady Mustangs hosted Sierra in a VOL tennis showdown. Oakdale tamed the Lady Wolves with a 5-4 victory. In the nailbiter, Oakdale’s Danika Brown and Cori Barney both fell in singles action. Courtney Rodgers, Alyssa Gouviea and Maddi Brewer helped power the Lady Mustangs with their straight set singles victories. Oakdale’s doubles dropped two of three, but it was the tandem of Jessica Gorman and McKayla Johnson who made the difference for Oakdale.

The Mustangs hit the road on Monday, Sept. 14 to open the soccer season against the Buffaloes. Oakdale came out aggressive and scored on a strike from senior midfielder Michael Arauza in the first half. Manteca evened the score just before the break. Tied at the half, Oakdale came out and posted five goals in the second half to put away the Buffaloes.



The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum hosted its Rodeo Hall of Fame Weekend on Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26 celebrating rodeo legends being inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame, as well as Ben Johnson Memorial Award and Tad Lucas Memorial Award recipients.

Two matches, two wins for the team for Oakdale girl’s golf. Oakdale dismissed Weston Ranch 264-348 and a 236-310 win over Lathrop capped off a perfect week for Oakdale. Freshman duo Taylor Stewart and Chloe Liekhus have been impressive their first year in the program.

Homecoming Week at Oakdale High School was full of teen and team spirit. Wednesday night, Oct. 7 the junior and senior female students treated fans to action in the annual Powder Puff football game at The Corral. Last year, the juniors upset the seniors 14-10; the then-juniors are now the seniors and showed their dominance again, winning 33-0 over the juniors. In the fun filled flag football frenzy, the seniors struck first as quarterback Maddie Hackbarth found her sister Kindra Hackbarth on a deep pass, where Kindra made junior defenders miss on her 50-yard catch and run to score the team’s first touchdown of the night with 12 seconds left in the first quarter.



In cross country, the frosh-soph girls took first place at the VOL championship meet at Legion Park on Tuesday, Oct. 27. In the two mile individual event, Bailee Garcia finished second (14:58), while Kaitlyn Dickson and Yetzel Garcia placed in the top ten. The frosh soph boys placed third in both league and in the meet as John Foreman placed 13th overall in the two mile meet. For the varsity girls, who finished fourth in both the meet and league, they ran a 5k course at Legion Park. Kristin Aguilar finished in ninth place at 21:59 earning a top ten medal. Oakdale’s varsity boys finished in a three way tie for fourth place in the VOL and finished sixth in the meet. Justin Crescenti finished 20th in the 5k run with a time 18:15.

The OHS varsity Lady Mustangs water polo team welcomed rival Sonora to town in the 2015 regular season finale Wednesday, Oct. 28. With a 7-5 victory at the Oakdale City Pool, the girls earned their sixth consecutive Valley Oak League title.

2015 was a huge success for the Oakdale Lady Mustangs volleyball club. The team went 14-0 in league play, resulting in their second consecutive Valley Oak League championship. It was, in fact, a clean sweep of the VOL for the volleyball program, as the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams all went undefeated in league play and were VOL champions. Three seniors were honored on Tuesday, Nov. 3 as Savannah Rodgers, Lauren Ott and Shaye Spani were all acknowledged before the team’s season finale against Central Catholic.

Six sensational senior Oakdale High School student athletes have put ink to paper on their future. These Oakdale athletes have shined over the years in their respective sport and on Thursday, Nov. 12 they signed their Letters of Intent. Hannah Chappell, Caitlin Golding, Scarlett Brock, Haley Fuller along with sisters Maddi and Kindra Hackbarth all committed to their NCAA schools.

Playing in their fifth consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Division II Girls Water Polo Section Championship game, the Oakdale Lady Mustangs knocked off Del Oro 5-4 on Saturday to win their third consecutive blue banner. Oakdale, the three seed in the tournament, got past two seeded Vintage in the semi-finals 6-4 on Tuesday, Nov. 10 to advance to the finals at Woodcreek High School in Roseville on Saturday, Nov. 14. The 2015 season will go down as a special one for the Lady Mustangs as they won their sixth straight Valley Oak League title and their third straight Section championship.

In a much anticipated finals showdown, the number one seeded Weston Ranch Cougars took on the second seeded and defending Section champion Oakdale Mustangs on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Stockton’s Stagg High School. The 2015 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III boys soccer showdown featured the two Valley Oak League representatives, champion Weston Ranch and league runner ups Oakdale, who defeated the Cougars twice during the regular season, but came up on the wrong side of a 2-0 score Saturday.

Oakdale hung 42 first half points on the scoreboard in their 42-14 quarterfinal victory over visiting Benicia on Nov. 20. Brad Aquino finished with a total of 150 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the night. Oakdale’s offensive line allowed no sacks, and opened up big holes for the Mustangs rushing attack, which accumulated a total of 452 yards.

The Oakdale Stampede varsity team traveled to Atwater High School as AFC champs to take on the NFC champion Modesto Broncos for the 2015 Super Bowl crown. Oakdale fell short in the championship quest as the Broncos corralled the Stampede, 44-30.

In the much-anticipated rematch of the 2014 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Finals, the second seeded Oakdale Mustangs hosted the third seeded Inderkum Tigers on Friday night, Nov. 27. In front of nearly 3,000 day-after-Thanksgiving fans, the Mustangs added another layer to that feeling of thankfulness, as they outlasted the Tigers 51-38 in the semifinals shootout.



A familiar face around Oakdale High School, takes on an unfamiliar role this winter. Former football and baseball coach Hondo Arpoika will be patrolling the sidelines indoors as the new varsity boys basketball coach.

Under first year varsity head coach, Julie Ford, the Lady Mustang varsity girls basketball team is off to a 2-0 start to the 2015-2016 campaign. The Lady Mustangs galloped to a 33-21 road win against Johansen on Tuesday, Dec. 1 and followed up with a nail biting, 23-22 road win over Summerville on Thursday evening.

Unlike the Nov. 6 barnburner that totaled 79 points between them, Friday night’s CIF Section Championship Game between Oakdale and Central Catholic proved to be an offensive struggle. At night’s end, it was Central Catholic hoisting the much sought after blue banner, following a 21-7 victory at Lincoln High School of Stockton in the DIII title contest.

Wrestling season is back, and for the seven-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion Oakdale Mustangs the expectations are high. Saturday, Dec. 12 Oakdale welcomed 24 teams to town as the Mustangs hosted the 40th James Riddle tournament. Several of Oakdale’s big names from last year have graduated and to the outside view of some, left Oakdale with more questions than answers. After the final bout on Saturday night, Oakdale answered those questions with six champions, seven finals qualifiers and a convincing first place team finish, scoring a total of 231 points.