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Youth Wrestlers Shine At State Championship
6-13 OAK Y-Wrest
Oakdale Youth Wrestling Club coach Ben Martinez (left) landed two top-three finishes at the Freestyle State Championships in Fresno on June 1. He is shown here with Oakdale state champions Gabriel Martinez (from left), Colby Harlan and Faalia Martinez. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE LEADER

After a whirlwind tour of national tournaments for the Oakdale Youth Wrestling Club, the pressures of the USA Wrestling California State Freestyle Championships on June 1 were about as intimidating as a gnat in pajamas.

Oakdale wrestlers eased into 12 state medals and team championship honors in both the intermediate and novice divisions, delivering another extravaganza of podium appearances from a rapidly growing program touted as one of the best in the nation.

And it wasn’t just the youngsters getting into serious competition. Oakdale coach Ben Martinez, a 19-year-old Central Catholic graduate, landed second in the open division (men of all ages) and was third in the 18-20 Junior Fila division.

He also coached his brother, Gabriel Martinez, to a 95-pound title in the novice division. His sister, Faalia Martinez, was a 105-pound novice champion as well. Colby Harlan, a three-time National tourney place-winner this season, was also first in the novice 90-pound weight class. Other novice medals went to Dustin Chaves (second at 75 pounds), Ricky Torres (3rd-80), Cody Golding (2nd-105) and Ronnie Ochoa (8th-105).

The intermediate division was dominated by the likes of Cesar Garza (2nd-70), Braydan Abell (2nd-55), Mikey Torres (4th-55) and Jonathan ‘Moochie’ Hernandez (4th-50).