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New Division, Same Result For Mustang Wrestling
Blue Banner
For the 11th consecutive year, Oakdale wrestlers lifted the Section’s blue banner in victory. Leader Photos By Dennis D. Cruz
Senior Dustin Chavez earned a 6-3 victory over this Pitman grappler in the finals. Leader Photos By Dennis D. Cruz
Preparing for battle is freshman Ceasar Garza, getting taped up by OHS head coach Steve Strange.Leader Photos By Dennis D. Cruz

For 11 years now the Oakdale High School wrestling team has dominated in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. This year the Mustangs matmen went to Lincoln High School in Stockton as the newcomers to Division II; and much like they have in Division IV and Division III over the last decade, they left holding the blue banner high above their heads in victory.

On Saturday, Jan. 26 the Mustangs competed in the 2018-2019 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Wrestling Team Dual Division II Championships. Oakdale’s morning started off in a bizarre way. The Mustangs were scheduled to compete against Oakmont. The only problem was Oakmont did not show up for the event.

“I was told that they had wrestlers that were injured and did not make the trip; their athletic director called and let everyone know,” said Oakdale head coach Steve Strange.

With the forfeit Oakdale advanced to the semifinals without having a wrestler step on the mats.

In the semifinals Oakdale took on Bella Vista, which had won their opening round 51-22 over Monterey Trail. However, Oakdale dominated the semifinal round as they handled Bella Vista 69-3. Oakdale’s dominance over Bella Vista included 10 wins via pin. Earning pins were Brayden Abell, Clayton Bashor, Ceasar Garza, Ricky Torres, Francisco Perez, Jordan Van Rys, Gabe Martinez, Beau Osmundson, Cody Golding and Michael Torres.

With nearly two and a half hours off in between rounds, Oakdale met Pitman in the finals. The finals round started off with Bashor (122 pounds) losing 7-1. Following the loss, Oakdale went on to win four straight matches. Freshman Garza (128) earned a second period pin to give Oakdale a 6-3 advantage. Senior Dustin Chavez (134) earned a 6-3 decision to further the Mustangs point total to 9-3 over Pitman. Henry Porter (140) earned a 20-6 major decision giving Oakdale a 14-3 lead. Ricky Torres (147) earned an early first period win pulling Oakdale to a 20-3 lead. Sophomore Seth Borba (152) may have had the match of the day as he won a 2-0 thriller.

“A lot of hard training went into this event, really all year we worked hard for this moment as a team,” said Borba.

With the win Oakdale went up 23-3.

Justin Jericoff (160) suffered a 12-3 loss but Gabe Martinez (170) picked up a first period pin to get the Mustangs back on track. Osmundson (182) took a 4-3 lead into the third period, but was caught off guard and suffered a pin loss late in the third, making the score 29-13. Senior Cody Golding (195) earned a first period pin victory.

“This is the final push for all of us, the road to Bakersfield is here and we all want to reach it,” said Golding.

Eric DeGraff (220) suffered a 10-0 loss and the score went to 35-17. Heavyweight Ben Molina also suffered a loss as he was pinned in the first period making it 35-23. Freshman Michael Torres broke up the losing streak and earned a third period pin fall victory.

“As a freshman I just wanted to help my team anyway that I could. This whole experience has been amazing and I am excited moving forward this postseason,” said Torres.

His victory advanced the Mustangs score to 41-23. Wrapping up the tournament was Brayden Abell, who won via forfeit.

“It’s up a division and the competition showed that today. It’s a great way to get motivated for the Valley Oak League and Masters,” said Coach Strange. “It comes down to the little things, and the guys have executed those little things well.”

Before winning their section record setting 11th straight banner, Oakdale defeated Central Catholic on Senior Night in the OHS gym on Thursday night. Golding, Osmundson, DeGraff, Martinez, Jericoff and Ricky Torres were all honored.

This Saturday, Oakdale will travel to East Union for the 2018-2019 VOL Championships. Wrestling will begin at 9 a.m.