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Sports Year In Review From Pages Of The Leader
Fullback Josh Jacobson and the varsity Mustangs had a big year. Jacobson set a single game rushing record this season in a playoff win over Patterson. Shown is Jacobson scoring a touchdown against Sonora. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

With 2017 now in the books, The Leader would like to take time to reminisce and reflect on the year that was. From golf to rodeo, football to MMA, 2017 was filled with memorable sporting events both on the Oakdale High School campus as well as in the community. Here are some of the top headlines for the Leader sports pages, month to month from the past year.



2015 Oakdale High School (OHS) graduate Frankie Trent transferred from Butte Community College to Benedictine College. Trent was a standout fullback for the Oakdale Mustangs and spent two seasons in Chico before heading to Atchison, Kansas. “When I chose Butte two years ago, I knew it was a temporary stay. God gave me the opportunity to go to Butte and I will always cherish my time there. However, God blessed me with this amazing opportunity to play at Benedictine College in Kansas,” Trent said about his new destination. During his time at Butte the team went 15-8. Benedictine College went 9-3 in 2017.

Fresh off their incredible CIF Division 3A State Championship run, the Oakdale Mustangs football team handed out their team awards on Jan. 15. The annual event was held in the main gym at OHS where all three levels of football were honored. Ten awards were handed out to the varsity team including Nico Sarale and Brandon Vierra were Co-Offensive Linemen of the Year and Will Semone was named team Most Valuable Player.

Oakdale wrestling honored five seniors for Senior Night 2017 on Jan. 18. Jake Abeyta, Trey Smith. Luis Ayala, Esteban Villasenor and Abel Garcia were all recognized for their hard work and dedication to the program. That night Oakdale took on Lathrop and Manteca, where Oakdale made short work of the VOL foes winning 57-6 over Lathrop and 65-9 over Manteca. Highlighting the night were quick pins by Garcia (14 seconds) and Abeyta (15 seconds) into each of their matches.

On the hardwood the OHS varsity boy basketball team won a wild double overtime game against East Union. The 69-65 double overtime win was the first Valley Oak League game the varsity team had won since 2015, dropping 23 consecutive games. In the game, Nick Woody scored 18 points, Blake Whiting scored 14 and Jace Krick added 10 in the exciting win. It was the team’s lone VOL win of the 2016-2017 campaign and the 69 points were a season high for the team.



On Feb. 4 the Mustangs wrestlers pinned down their ninth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Championship. The team closed out the day with a 51-18 victory over Benicia in the finals. On the day Oakdale won 35 of its 42 matches. Dustin Chavez, Jake Abeyta, Ricky Torres, Jake Ryan, Bronson Harmon, Cody Golding, Abel Garcia, Colbey Harlan and Matt Kjeldgaard went unbeaten on the day.

February was a big month for the wrestling program. On Feb. 11, the team claimed their 11th straight VOL Championship. Oakdale won the eight team tournament by having 10 of 13 wrestlers win their weight class.

Eight OHS varsity boys hoopsters were recognized for their contributions on the court on Feb. 10. Oakdale’s eight seniors were Ty Fuentes, Joseph Lutz, Blake Whiting, Zach Miller, Dallon Barfield, Zack Tamburrino, Nick Woody and Reece Noordewier. Combined the seniors scored 17 points against Central Catholic in an 83-42 loss.

On the soccer field, the boys postseason took a major hit in January when they lost back-to-back games. However, February proved to be an exciting time for the varsity team. The team won five of their last six regular season games to finish second in the VOL. The team had 15 seniors on its roster. On Feb. 13 the team rallied from a 3-1 second half deficit to Central Catholic to win 4-3 to punch their postseason ticket. Winslow Barrales scored two goals to help power the Mustangs. Later that week the team defeated Patterson 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs but fell to Lincoln 2-1 in the second round to end their season.

On Feb. 24 Oakdale wrestling had four Masters Champions and sent six wrestlers to the CIF State Championships. Ricky Torres, Jake Ryan, Gabe Martinez, Bronson Harmon, Abel Garcia, and Colbey Harlan all qualified for the opportunity to wrestle in Bakersfield.



Colbey Harlan and Abel Garcia walked out of Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield as second place finishers in the 2017 CIF California High School State Championships on March 3.

Spring time in Oakdale features several sports on and off campus including track, swimming, golf, baseball, tennis and softball.

Early March saw the OHS track and field team finish fourth in the Stanislaus County Meet at Turlock High School. The girls team finished third and the boys placed fourth in the meet.

Oakdale’s varsity baseball Mustangs opened up the season with a pair of wins against Manteca to help power them to an early advantage in the VOL.



Saturday, April 1 the tradition of Oakdale Baseball Softball Association entered its second season. Nearly 1,000 youth baseball and softball players signed up for the program.

Also in youth sports five young wrestling grapplers finished in the top 10 in the State of California Wrestling Alliance for the Youth State Meet in Clovis.

It wouldn’t be the Cowboy Capital of the World without the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo. The annual event did not disappoint rodeo fans as thousands gathered each day at the arena. Light rain fell but tons of fun was had by the fans.

In the month of April the boys golf team tied for first place in the Valley Oak League. The baseball team remained perfect with a 10-0 mark.



Two days into May the boys won the 2017 VOL title after knocking off Central Catholic 6-0. The Mustangs went on to have a 14-0 league record.

Also winning VOL were the varsity softball girls. However the girls season came to an end in the second round of the playoffs following a 3-1 loss to Vanden.

The varsity girls track and field also won VOL in May.

In May the baseball team’s season came to a close with a loss to Christian Brothers in the Section Championship game.



Oakdale’s youth found a way to cool off through the Gators youth swimming team as summer started to heat up.

Incoming freshmen took part in the OHS Summer Baseball clinic run by all three levels of baseball coaches and players.

The young ladies at Infinite Cheer won the US Finals National Championship during the summer.

Fresh off his successful high school career, former OHS catcher Bryce Kirk signed with University of the Pacific in Stockton to further his baseball career.

On the gridiron Cullen Bearden, Zac Thomas and Jacob Tietjen represented the North in the 32nd annual North/South Rotary All-Star Football Game in Merced. The North won 33-19.

Former OHS standout Matt Vandagriff began training at the world famous Santino Brothers Wrestling Academy in Bell Gardens. Since then, Vandagriff has appeared in several events internationally.

In June the Hackbarth twins, Maddi and Kindra, transferred from Fresno State to Arizona State for their sophomore season for softball.



July was hard hitting for MMA fighter Angel DeAnda. The Oakdale resident earned his shot on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series with the UFC. DeAnda fought Daniel Spohn on the show but suffered a controversial loss.

Soccer standout Makenzie Perez signed with University of Alabama-Huntsville to play goalkeeper for the Chargers.

The Stampede youth football team hosted their second annual meet and greet at Kerr Park. Over 150 players braved the triple digit heat that day.

In July the then-defending state champion Mustangs football team stepped foot on the practice field for the first time.



MMA fighter Buddy Wallace won a pair of fights in August. Later in the month he went on the Dana White reality series and lost to Charles Byrd.

August welcomed back the students to school and the fall sports practices began. Football, volleyball, water polo, girls golf, cross country and tennis all began conditioning.

Oakdale Stampede hosted the Round Robin in 2017 and so began their impressive Super Bowl run.

Cade Middaugh ran in the AAU West Coast National Track and Field Championship in Reno. He placed fourth overall in the boys 17-18 3,000 meter and third in the 1,500 meter.

The Mustangs defeated the Sonora Wildcats 47-13 at Sonora in the season opener.



The inaugural Oakdale Soccer Club season was held in September where 72 total teams competed in recreational youth soccer.

Fall sports on campus officially began and volleyball, girl’s golf, football and cross country turned in a strong month.



A historic run came to an end this past year. The Oakdale varsity girls water polo team’s streak of 59 straight Valley Oak League victories came to an end when they lost to Kimball 8-2 in Tracy. It had been nearly eight years since the team lost in league play.

The varsity girls volleyball team did not win the VOL for the first time in three years as they dropped back-to-back games to end the regular season.

The girls golf team won their second consecutive VOL title when they knocked off East Union. The team went 14-0 in league play and have won 33 straight dating back to 2015.



James Forkner, Kayden Legan and Tanner Cusano all advanced to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Finals for cross country.

The girls golf team closed out their season with a fifth place showing at the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Finals.

Water polo came to an end in November for both the boys and the girls. The girls fell to Davis in the second round and the boys fell to Christian Brothers in the semifinals.

The varsity football team finished 7-0 in league play and won the VOL title on the road against Central Catholic.

A handful of student athletes signed their letters of intent on Nov. 9. Colbey Harlan, Abigail Matoso, Bronson Harman, Jake Ryan and Grace Green all signed on National Letter of Intent Day.

The Stampede varsity team won their Super Bowl championship over Merced 49-26.

The Boxing Development Center opened its doors in November. The facility welcomed in boxing champion and current Bellator fighter Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton for a meet and greet that night.

Fullback Josh Jacobson broke the OHS single game rushing record in a playoff win over Patterson. Jacobson rushed for 347 yards against the Tigers.



The quest for a repeat at the CIF State Football Championship came to an end when Oakdale lost to Manteca in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Finals. The Buffaloes won 34-17.

Winter sports geared up as soccer, wrestling and basketball all began.

MMA superstar Michael “Mayday” McDonald returned to the ring for the first time in 17 months. McDonald defeated Peter Ligier at Bellator 191. McDonald suffered a broken finger in the fight