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FOES UPENDED - Mustangs Make History With 11 VOL Titles
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One of the best wrestlers in the Valley Oak League, William Fishburn of Sierra, is upended by Oakdales Max Stevens, who puts the squeeze on for this pin in the 128-pound VOL finale on Saturday in Tracy. IKE DODSON/THE LEADER


The wrestling chapter of the Oakdale High record book is guarded by a heavy padlock these days, as annual supremacy has surrendered some of the most dominant performances in Valley Oak League history.

The 2012-13 squad picked that lock on Saturday.

Oakdale won 11 of the 14 weight classes at the VOL Championships in Kimball to break a school record for the most individual conference titles by any team.

They surpassed the 10 titles won by the program in 2011 and advanced all 14 wrestlers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championships for the third consecutive season. On top of that, Oakdale was 30-3 in total matches, losing twice in the semifinals and just once during a run of 12 finals appearances.

It was quite the performance from a program now responsible for 60 individual conference titles in seven years and an incredible 48 in the past five seasons.

“They looked pretty good,” nine-year Oakdale coach Brian Stevens admitted on Saturday. “Even in the matches that we lost I felt we should have won, but to lose just three matches all day is pretty good.”

Mustang titles were awarded to Nico Colunga (108 pounds), Trevor Williams (115), Ronnie Stevens (122), Max Stevens (128), Jake Jacobson (140), Tyler Noon (147), Tyler Malone (152), Frankie Trent (172), Bailey Dryden (184), Hondo Arpoika (197) and Zack Fallentine (222).

Eric Barragan almost made it 12 titles during his 285-pound finale, but lost grip of his 4-1 lead over Kimball’s Nathan Pearlman and was ultimately pinned in the waning moments of the second round.

Colunga (sophomore) started the title run with an 11-1 cruiser over Kimball talent Robert Delgado to nab his second title at the weight and pave the way for another potential four-time league champ, Williams.

The Mustang freshman got the starting nod after returning Masters champ Juan Garza left the team early in the year, and took advantage of his opportunity. Williams proved tenacious against Nathan Bowen of Weston Ranch, wrenching the junior to his back for a first round pin.

It was a ‘great’ moment for the promising underclassman.

“Four straight league titles would be a great feeling,” Williams said after the match. “It’s great to be a part of team with great coaches, great partners in the room and great people.”

Senior Ronnie Stevens poured on late back points to outwork Reese Chew of Kimball in his final, while his sophomore brother, Max Stevens, worked to pin Sierra talent William Fishburn in the final period.

Jacobson (senior) handled Sierra’s Albert Loaiza amidst a 10-0 title match while classmate, Noon, put on a show in his finale by landing a 15-point lead and technical fall of Richard Navarrette (Weston Ranch) in the opening moments of the second period.

Malone (senior) shut out Gerardo Gonzales of Weston Ranch 7-0 to win his weight while Trent (sophomore) outlasted a resilient Omar Guzman of Lathrop one match later for his first VOL gold.

Bailey Dryden, who won a hard-fought challenge match against teammate Miguel Ibarra earlier in the week just to claim a varsity spot, won consecutive matches to snare his first league title as a junior. He pinned Candelario Elizando of Weston Ranch with just three seconds remaining in the second round.

“You have to earn your spot on this team,” Dryden said afterwards. “You have to train hard every single day.”

In one of the most vigorous finals of the night, Arpoika worked relentlessly to score on Kimball’s Matthew Cooper, and settled for a 6-0 win. Fallentine (senior) would edge Cody Simerly 5-1 to round out the dominant finals wins.

Oakdale’s Justin Jacobson (134-pound freshman) and Tanner Reeves (160-pound junior) overcame disappointing semifinal defeats to finish third after convincing wins in the consolation bracket.

On Friday, Feb. 15, Oakdale wrestlers take on the field of qualifiers from the Western Athletic Conference and Sierra Valley Conference in a two-day square-off for only four seeds in each weight to the SJS Masters Championships.

Last year, the VOL had four more Masters qualifiers than a WAC conference that includes perennial strengths Los Banos and Central Catholic and 13 more than a lackluster SVC that has never won a Division IV banner. Oakdale is the runaway favorite to snare a seventh straight section title from the event.

Friday’s action begins at 11 a.m. at Los Banos High.