Six prep wrestling teams from three different Division IV leagues collided at the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Dual Championships on Saturday, but five of them were only really competing for second.
Oakdale cruised past Ceres 64-7 in the bracket semifinals before blasting Weston Ranch 59-3 in the event finale. The victory granted Oakdale a fourth consecutive SJS Team Duals title, the longest active streak in the section.
“Our guys wrestled well and I saw a lot of improvement,” Oakdale coach Brian Stevens said. “Winning that thing is definitely one of our goals that we try to accomplish and it’s a pretty big deal for the program.”
Mustang grapplers won 25 of their 28 total matches and landed the only dominant wins of the division. The rest of the bracket was stretched apart by narrow decisions. Ceres saw late heroics grant the Western Athletic Conference runner-up a berth into the semifinals after they dropped Sierra Valley League runner-up, Union Mine, in a 40-39 first round. Valley Oak League runner up, Weston Ranch, upended SVL champion, Cosumnes Oaks, by a 41-28 score in the same round.
While Oakdale was dismantling the Ceres lineup, the bracket’s other semifinal bout swung Weston Ranch’s way after No. 2 seed Los Banos (WAC champion) sent two wrestlers to wrestle at the wrong weight. The mistake forced Los Banos forfeits in both weights and ultimately prematurely ended the match after a 45-minute break in action to decide the ruling.
And while Weston Ranch won the semifinal after forced forfeits gave the Cougars a 48-30 win, they didn’t win much in the D-IV final.
Consecutive victories from Oakdale wrestlers gave the Mustangs a 33-0 lead to start the match. Weston Ranch reached the scoreboard when returning D-IV champion Donell Sims bested Hondo Arpoika in an exciting 5-2 contest at 182 pounds. Oakdale wrestlers followed with five straight wins to close the match with an empathic title collection.
“We decided we would wrestle guys at their right weights and pretty much stay true to our lineup,” Stevens said. “Everybody won matches.”
Every Mustang wrestler to compete ultimately won a match, and 10 of them won two. Senior Dustin Harris, who has wrestled in all four of Oakdale’s previous section dual championships during the streak, pinned both of his opponents in the first round.
“I don’t know how it feels to lose one of these things,” Harris said with a grin. “We have had a lot of good teams over the last four years and we capped it off with another win this year.”
Fellow senior Kyle Cupit waited in the wings during the first two years of Oakdale’s run, but won heavyweight matches during last year’s run and captured an impressive 20-5 technical fall against Weston Ranch at 195 pounds on Saturday.
“It feels pretty good to be a champion,” Cupit said. “It’s a big change wrestling 195 this year. It’s a lot more fast paced.”
Nico Colunga, Juan Garza, Max Stevens, Robert Barnhart, Jake Jacobson, Tyler Noon, Tyler Malone, Miko Arpoika and Zack Fallentine all won both their matches for Oakdale. Eric Barragan, Tanner Morgan and Hondo Arpoika finished 1-1 while Cupit and Jeremy Brandau were 1-0.
Oakdale will host varsity and junior varsity brackets at the Valley Oak League Individual Championships on Saturday. The top-four wrestlers in each varsity weight will move on to compete at the Division IV Championships at Weston Ranch on Feb. 17 and 18. Oakdale won 10 of 14 weights at the league championships a season ago, and will be heavily favored to post similar results despite the departure of seven of their nine state qualifiers from 2011.
Weigh-ins for the league tourney are at 7 a.m., with wrestling scheduled for 9 a.m. The first place medal matches are expected to begin at 4 p.m.