The historic run continues for the Oakdale High School wrestling program. For the 12th consecutive year, the Mustangs were the ones to hoist up the Sac-Joaquin Section championship banner … this year, doing it in Division 1 after the competition at Lincoln High School in Stockton over the weekend.
Twelve years to claim a Section title is a current Sac-Joaquin Section record. On Saturday night, Feb. 1 the Mustangs earned their latest banner and returned home as the 2020 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Champions.
“This weekend’s championship was a complete team effort by all 14-plus wrestlers throughout the day,” said head coach Steve Strange.
Representing Division I were Vacaville, Monterey Trail, Elk Grove, Turlock, Del Oro, Lincoln (Stockton), Franklin and Oakdale. In the first round Oakdale took on Elk Grove and dominated their way to a 63-3 win. In the semifinals the Mustangs battled their way to a 41-29 win over Del Oro. In the finals the boys defeated Vacaville 45-17 to win the dual title.
Helping power the Mustangs in the finals was Clayton Bashor, who defeated Eric Almarinez, the ninth ranked wrestler in the state in the 126-pound weight class. Bashor went 3-0 over the weekend and won his finals match 10-8.
“It was a great weekend for all of us,” said Bashor. “He (Almarinez) is a tough opponent. He is very good, but I applied myself and pushed myself to the limits to earn that win. Wrestling is like a puzzle with only five pieces to it. It seems like it will be easy, but you must be patient with it.”
Michael Torres defeated the fifth ranked wrestler in the state when he earned the win over Kaiona Medina.
“Critter (Bashor) and Torres, led a complete team effort, literally all 14 wrestlers stepped up and wrestled lights out on Saturday. It is a great accomplishment for this team of Oakdale Mustangs,” Strange commented. “The performance was a great way to build our momentum heading into the postseason.”
Oakdale is a young team and the future continues to be bright for the Mustangs. Other wrestlers who contributed over the weekend included Brayden Abell, Seth Borba, Ben Molina, Alan Casey, Jordan Van Rys, Ceasar Garza, Spencer Von Savoye, Titan Ginger, Payne Perkins and Jonathan Hernandez among those Mustangs getting wins over the weekend.
The postseason continues this weekend when Oakdale travels to Weston Ranch in Stockton for the Valley Oak League Championship. The road to state continues when the Mustangs head to Ponderosa High School for the 2019-2020 Divisionals. The Divisionals are scheduled for Feb. 14 and 15 and wrestling action is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
On Feb. 21 and 22 the grapplers head to Stockton Arena for Masters to battle for their right to advance to Bakersfield for a shot at the state championship.
“As a wrestler you are always thinking about state. It’s obviously the biggest weekend of our wrestling careers. However, I don’t overlook the weekends prior to it,” Bashor said.