Not many schools had multiple state qualifiers. At the end of Saturday evening, Feb. 16, Oakdale had nine. An impressive weekend for the Oakdale wrestling program resulted in nine state qualifiers, four section champions and a second place team finish.
The 2019 Sac-Joaquin Section Masters was hosted at Delta College in Stockton and on Friday, Feb. 15 Oakdale had eight wrestlers qualify for this weekend’s State Championship in Bakersfield. During the first day’s competition, Brayden Abell, Clayton Bashor, Henry Porter, Ricky Torres, Seth Borba, Ceasar Garza, Gabe Martinez and Cody Golding all secured their spots at the prestigious tournament. Capping off the Mustangs weekend was Michael Torres as he qualified on Saturday.
This is the second time in two years that sophomore Abell (106) will be competing in the state championship. Abell placed third in his weight class after defeating James Nerli, Desizion Costa and Jack James. On Saturday, Abell fell to Dylan Maples of Bella Vista in the semifinals but bounced back with a pin over Union Mine grappler Michael Mallot and then earned a 4-2 decision over Isaiah Kainoa of Vacaville.
“It’s an honor to place and to advance to state,” said Abell.
Freshman Michael Torres (113) had to wait until Saturday to seal his fate. Two wins on Friday followed by an early Saturday loss to William Gilron saw Torres fall to the consolation bracket and he had to win to keep his state championship hopes alive.
“It’s a great feeling, I worked hard for this and to reach state is an amazing feeling,” said Torres, who placed fifth overall.
Bashor (120) has reached the state championship tournament for the second consecutive year. The sophomore placed fourth at Masters after starting the tournament off strong. He defeated Josh Pimentel, Jacob Yang and Mazin Samara on Friday.
“This is what I do, I qualified as a freshman last year, and now I’m ready to take the next step as a sophomore,” Bashor said.
In the semifinals Bashor fell to Isaiah Schaneep via pin fall and answered with a decision over Dylan Duncan of Vista del Lago in the consolation bracket. He then fell to Kai Nimi to finish in fourth place.
Freshman Garza (126) started the tournament off with three straight wins on Friday to qualify for the big tournament next weekend. Garza dropped his semifinals match to Evan Ivadi of Del Oro in a major decision. He then picked up a thrilling 2-0 overtime victory over Eli Blackwell of Tracy in a consolation round match. In the battle for third place, he lost to Edison Alanis of Fresno 2-1.
“This is what I worked for this year, to qualify for state. I’m happy that I achieved that goal but have work to do to place (at state),” said Garza.
Porter (132), a sophomore, is now a two time state qualifier. At the end of the long weekend it was Porter standing on top of the winner’s podium as he was crowned champion. With day one wins over Aaron Magee, Trevor Davis and Ryan Elgarcio Porter had earned the trip to the semifinals on Saturday. He picked up where he left off, winning a thrilling 5-4 semifinals match over Jacob Peralta of Vacaville. In the finals he met Noah Mirelez of Patterson and scored an 8-6 overtime win as he got two points with 15 seconds remaining in the overtime period.
“It was a true battle,” said Porter. “This was goal number one, to win Masters and now I am ready for next weekend. It’s going to take intense training, the competition is real down there but I think I am ready.”
Just like his younger brother, Ricky Torres (138) earned his opportunity to wrestle in the state championship. The three time state qualifier went 5-0 and was crowned Masters champion. Torres defeated Conner Dikitanan, Albert Williams, Dakota Gutierrez and Eli Blake and in the finals, he pinned Kendall Frank of Elk Grove 54 seconds into the match.
“This one is special,” said the senior. “To win Masters is great, but I am truly proud to be going to state with my younger brother. I am very proud of him.”
Borba (145), a sophomore, clinched his first trip to Bakersfield with a second place finish at Masters. He defeated Clark Parry, Danny Harris, Caiden Cohen on Friday, and Jose Estrada of Beyer in the semifinals Saturday. He went the distance with Sammy Silveria of Pitman in the finals but came up short 3-1 to take second place.
“I may not have won but I am excited and honored to be continuing on to state,” said Borba.
Martinez, now a four time state qualifier, punched his ticket with a championship performance at the Masters. He went 5-0 over the weekend and was crowned champion at 170 pounds. In the finals he defeated Joseph Valdez of Placer, 9-1.
“As a senior this is where you want to be, but I want to be a state champion, I came close but this year is the year,” said Martinez.
Rounding out the Mustangs big weekend was senior Golding (195). He powered his way to become a Masters champion after going undefeated this past weekend. In the finals he defeated Peter Ming of Elk Grove via a 10-3 decision.
“It feels great to be a champ and that’s what we all work for,” said Golding.
The state championship will be held at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield beginning Friday, Feb. 22.