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Wrestling Mustangs Pin Down Ninth Straight Blue Banner
Eight Is Not Enough
Sophomore Ricky Torres went undefeated in the Sac-Joaquin Section DIII Duals on Saturday. Shown is the 132-pound Mustang grappler in his finals match, in front of a discouraged Benicia bench.Leader Photos By Dennis D. Cruz

History was made inside Lincoln High School in Stockton on Saturday, Feb. 4 as the Oakdale Mustangs varsity wrestling team won its ninth straight Sac-Joaquin Section title. The boys dominated the competition to claim another blue banner after defeating Benicia 51-18 in the finals.

Oakdale’s first victim of the day was Casa Robles, as Oakdale took a decisive 63-12 decision off the mats. The Mustangs carried their intensity and determination to the next round where they manhandled Bear Creek 82-0.

In their quest to history, Oakdale wrestled a total of 42 matches, winning 35 of them. Going undefeated and wrestling multiple times on the day were Dustin Chavez, Jake Abeyta, Ricky Torres, Jake Ryan, Bronson Harmon, Cody Golding, Abel Garcia, Colbey Harlan and Matt Kjeldgaard.

“The team has really come together in recent weeks. Watching the younger guys grow up and pitch in in a big way has been fun,” said junior Jake Ryan, who has missed the last two postseasons due to injury.

One of the young talents on the team that went 3-0, all via pin, was sophomore Dustin Chavez.

“I just wanted to help the team out. We wanted to win Sections not just for us but for the coaches and community,” Chavez said. “We all wrestled hard today and it paid off.”

Chavez qualified for the state tournament as a freshman and looks to return to Bakersfield in March.

“It’s going to take hard work to get back to state. If I continue to work hard and wrestle the way I have been, then I think I have a chance,” the sophomore said. “The real goal is not just to go to state, but to place.”

Oakdale’s postseason continues with the Valley Oak League Championships this coming weekend at Central Catholic. Wrestling action begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11. Oakdale has won the VOL title 10 straight years.