With the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament slated for El Dorado, the SJS Masters scheduled for Stockton and the California Interscholastic Federation Championships set for Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, local wrestling fans will certainly have to travel to see Oakdale High grapplers compete this season.
But this past weekend was an exception.
Oakdale wrestlers thrilled a huge contingent of Mustang faithful with a one-sided title and 16 total medals in 14 weight classes at the Oakdale-hosted 35th Annual James Riddle Classic.
Oakdale wrestlers, representing both “A” and “B” Mustang teams, saw six first place finishes and another three runner-up honors from a program that is still a few wrestlers short of full varsity strength.
“I think it was a good tournament for us as our first varsity competition of the year,” Oakdale coach Brian Stevens said. “We had a lot of people come out to watch the team. The community really got behind us.”
Oakdale ran away with the team title at 333 points, well ahead of second place West (188) and third place Los Banos (162). Oakdale’s “B” team, which didn’t collect a team score, would have likely ended up fourth.
Returning CIF qualifiers Garrett Fortado (112 pounds), Shane Tate (140), David Ferry (145) and Trent Noon (171) all nabbed tournament titles, and saw Dustin Harris (160) and Juan Garza (103) take similar honors.
Ronnie Stephens, a 103-pound freshman last year, ran into highly touted West senior Justin Martin-Del Campo in the 119-pound finale, and finished second.
Jake Butler dropped a match to Buhach Colony standout Francisco Tejada in the 135-pound title match, and watched Dillon Tomasovich suffer the same fate to Florin’s Gabriel Herrera at 152 pounds.
But there was plenty of Mustangs success in the finals as well.
Harris, who had already pinned Bret Harte’s Tanner Sherrow (8th at 2010 SJS Masters), kept up a terrific tournament by dominating Lodi’s Jacob Holley in an 8-1 finale.
Garza scored at will on Summerville’s Andrew Brennan before a second round pin, and watched Fortado battle to a 4-2 win over state qualifier Kendal Klette in the most difficult match-up of any Mustang to reach the finals.
Tate ran through Jorge Munoz of Los Banos in a 15-6 major decision, and saw teammate, Ferry, cruise to an 8-4 rout of returning state qualifier Devin Nanik of Bret Harte. Noon pinned Josh Logan of Enochs in the second round in his title match as well.
Most wrestlers in the consolation bracket saw their five-match limit in the 16-man bracket, leaving room for ties at some weights instead of a medal match at third or fifth place.
Tyler Noon took third at 125 while Andrew Markel (119), Tyler Malone (140), Travis Holden (152) and Kyle Cupid (215) also settled for bronze. Miko (fourth) and Hondo (fifth) Arpoika delivered some great 189-pound matches just one week from their appearance as starters in the Division III SJS Football Championships at Sac State. Jake Jacobson was fourth at 112 as well.
The tournament was made possible after some big contributions from various community sponsors, and a host of work from Mustang booster, Anna Butler.
“(Anna) hustles to get things done, and honestly she is just amazing,” Stevens said. “The community overall just got involved and we had a lot of help.”