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Tennis Boys Finish As Runner-Ups
Freshman Caleb Poling won in straight sets in the championship. Poling was the lone Mustang to win in singles action. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER
Senior Zach Nielson played in his final tennis match for OHS during the CIF SJS Championship against Manteca. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER
Following their 7-2 loss to Manteca, Oakdale proudly displayed their runner-up patches and head coach Grant Miller hoisted up the second place plague presented to them by the Sac-Joaquin Section. This was the first time in school history that Oakdale had reached the championship. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

Tuesday, May 7 the Oakdale High School boys tennis team faced off against a familiar foe for the third time this season. The Mustangs took on Manteca in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championship. The two teams split during the regular season, however at the end of the day it was Manteca wearing the championship hats and holding up the blue banner following a 7-2 victory over fellow Valley Oak League representative Oakdale.

For the first time in school history Oakdale reached the section finals, and for the first time in over two decades they had made it to the post season.

Oakdale entered the tournament as the third seed and defeated the sixth seed Los Banos in the first round, and shocked the second seed Valley 5-4 in the semi-finals that took place on Friday, May 3.

The finals took place at Modesto Junior College in front of a large audience. The Mustangs managed to get one singles victory and that came from freshman Caleb Poling. Poling, the Mustangs number three singles, earned a straight set victory over Ryan Foo 6-2, 6-0. “This was a great experience, and to play against such a worthy opponent like I did made it really special,” said Poling following his victory. Poling made adjustments in his game to help prepare for the finals. “I worked on my mental game as well as my physical game. In the three days that we had to prepare I just focused on the mental aspect of the game.”

It was a rough afternoon for the rest of the Mustangs singles players as they went 0-5 collectively. Liam Peters lost to Salmon Aniss 0-6, 1-6. Frankie Dutra fell to Kurtis Ma 0-6, 1-6. Mark Chavez battled to a 3-6, 0-6 loss to Harshaw Singh. Jimmy Homer lost to Nick Pio 0-6, 4-6 and senior Zach Nielson fell to Kayson Neduvakkalu 4-6, 2-6.

In doubles, Chris Frye and Max Moore were victorious. The number two singles team won in straight sets over Kiersten Melan and Jordan Navales 6-1, 6-2. Oakdale’s top doubles team of Teo Diaz and Shivam Mystery lost to Kevin Lin and Raupreet Grewal 3-6, 5-7. Oakdale’s number three doubles team of Hayden Hill and Aiden Rodrigues fell to Spencer Ogden and Julian Gosal in three sets; 6-3, 2-6, 2-6.

“It was a heck of a year,” said Mustangs head coach Grant Miller. “We sure wanted to win but in the end we had the best year OHS boys tennis history. I am extremely proud of these young men. They battled right to the end. They are Mustangs through and through.”