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Playoff-bound Cougars split final duals
Sierra’s Aiden Foster locks up Weston Ranch 145-pounder Robert Gonzales for a three-point near-fall. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
WESTON RANCH — All Weston Ranch had to do was show up at its own gym and go through the motions with the young program’s second Sac-Joaquin Section Team Duals Tournament berth already clinched.

But with an even bigger prize at stake, the Valley Oak League championship, the Cougars still had reason to complete the regular season at their best.

Oakdale ended up earning its second straight league title with one-sided victories over host Weston Ranch, 52-18, and Sierra, 53-24, in the final double dual meet Wednesday. Weston Ranch rebounded by defeating Manteca Unified rival Sierra by a closer-than-it-looks 40-21 margin.

“We knew going in we were going to have to wrestle our best match (against Oakdale) and we didn’t,” Weston Ranch head coach Pat King said. “Would the outcome have been any different? Probably not, but they’re as tough as it gets. They don’t have any holes in their lineup.”

Weston Ranch (6-1) was sparked by heavyweight Eddie Reed in the opening match against Oakdale. Reed — one of two Cougars to go 2-0 on the night, the other being Chris Contreras (189) — stuck Oakdale’s Kacey Stout in 1 minute, 2 seconds. He later pinned Sierra’s Anthony Colonico in 3:06.

After winning the next match at 103 by forfeiture, the Mustangs (7-0) flexed their muscles with dominating efforts from their lower weights, winning the next eight to wrap up the victory.

Weston Ranch standout 140-pounder Travis Bowen battled valiantly with Oakdale sophomore Dustin Harris but lost, 6-5.

“We haven’t seen Weston Ranch wrestle at all, so I tried to find any information I could on them,” Oakdale coach Brian Stevens said. “I know their kids are always athletic, but I really had no idea. I knew they had a good heavyweight and a good 140-pounder. I didn’t have a good feel for them at all. It turns out they are a very good team.”

Contreras was a part of the night’s most exciting matches with Sierra’s Oscar Castro. Down 4-2 late in the third period, he willed his way to the tying takedown with 10 seconds left to force overtime. In the extra session, he scored the sudden-death takedown with eight seconds to go.

That win put the Cougars up 25-21 with three matches to go. Franschott Sibley followed suit with an 8-3 decision to hammer down the team victory. The match ended with forfeiture at 103 that went in Weston Ranch’s favor.

Sierra sophomore sensation Alex Nuanez recorded two pinfall victories at 160 pounds, as did 119-pounder Robert Howard.

“I thought it was a little bit of a letdown after the last few dual meets we had,” said Sierra coach Frank Sabala, whose team capped the VOL season at 3-4. “I thought we performed better then than we did over here. It’s over with, so we have to focus on the next competition.”

Weston Ranch and Sierra will next compete in the Placer Duals Saturday.

The section’s Team Duals is set for Feb. 7 and will be hosted at Rosemont High in Sacramento.

Escalon 62, Ripon 15
In Ripon, the Cougars were too much for the Indians to handle as Ripon gave up five forfeits and collected just two wins on the mat.

Trevor Daniel (140 pounds) won a 5-4 decision, and Christian Spence (189) collected a third-round pin.

Matt Baker collected forfeiture at heavyweight. Ryan Mackey made a couple of mistakes in his rematch with Charlie McDonald at 171 pounds, and it cost him a 5-2 loss.

“It was a tough match for us,” Ripon head coach Glen White said. “We were outmatched in just about every weight class. We have so much to work on and not a lot of time. We’re hoping to put it together for Hughson (Wednesday).”