With 10 Sac-Joaquin master’s meet qualifiers, two-state place winners, and five state qualifiers, the Del Oro wrestling team looks to be on track to claiming another Sac-Joaquin Division I championship and contend to win a master’s meet title for the third time in the school’s history. The team leaders for the Golden Eagles include Brenden Johnson who finished eighth at his weight class at the state and Cal Poly signee Eli Blake. We also can forget about Damion Elliott who competed in the lowest weight classification and was a match shy from earning a state medal. Evan Ivaldi was a master’s finalist and Jed Campos was a semifinalist. If both athletes can readjust their mindset, the sky will be the limit for both wrestlers. Big things are also expected from Klay Browning, Matt Ciocci, Colton Guthrie, Reagan Arney, and Tyler Randall who were all master qualifiers.
With the departure of two-time state place winner Henry Porter to Central Coast power Gilroy High, some people might think that the Mustangs won’t have the manpower to contend for a Sac-Joaquin master’s title. However, that is not true as they bring back eight varsity starters out of a team that was runner-up at masters. Brayden Abell brings the most experienced in the team as he was a CIF state place winner, while Michael Torres, Clayton Bashor, Seth Borba, and Caesar Garza were state qualifiers. This off-season all have competed in various events with Garza having the most success after knocking off Campbell University recruit and three-time state place winner Aaron Gandara of Poway High in the semifinals of the California World Challenge at Clovis West High. Coach Steve Strange will ask Jordan VanRys, Francisco Perez, and Ben Molina to step up their game and help Oakdale win their second master’s title in the school history; Oakdale were champions during the 2010-11 season.
The Pride only graduated four starters from their 2018-19 team that finished top 20 at state. This season they will be hard to beat in dual-meet competition with so many outstanding individuals. The team leaders for Pitman will be two-time state place winner Israel Tubera, mater’s champion Sammy Silveria, and master’s finalist Kendall La Rosa. Both Silveria and La Rosa finished the state tournament with a 2-2 record. Isaiah Ontiveros and Juan Mora tasted the competition of the biggest tournament in California by competing at the state tournament. Talwinder Malhi was a division champion and will attempt this season to punch his ticket to the state tournament. Julian Rosales, Conner La Rosa, Jonny Stout, and Emilio Gutierrez were master’s meet participants. They will be looking to adjust their wrestling skills and get on the podium to help the Pride finish higher at the big dance.
The Turlock High wrestling team has always been competitive in the Sac-Joaquin section by having numerous master’s champions as well as state place winners and champions. This upcoming season they will return six wrestlers with master’s experience. Team leaders will be William Giron and Adrian Heras. Giron was a state place winner during the 2017-18 season and was a match shy of placing last year. Heras won both CIF and master’s and finished in the blood round at state. Gustavo Bonilla and Raza Saijadi were place winners at CIF and were a match away from placing at the Sac-Joaquin section. Desizion Costa is a wrestler that the coaching staff will look to reshape his wrestling skills and have him compete in the big dance. As a sophomore last year, Costa placed eighth at masters. With so many wrestlers capable of placing at the master’s meet tournament, we could see Turlock being a contender for a team title.
The 18-time Sac-Joaquin Master's champions will have a harder time repeating this upcoming season as they lost nine key wrestlers to graduation. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs will rally behind Chris Islands who was a match away last season from garnering All-State honors at 220-pounds. A brutal attacker with his non-sense wrestling, Islands was a double Fargo All-American as well as a Folkstyle Nationals runner-up in 2018. His workout partner Eric Hayward (285) had a great 2018-19 season that saw him place fifth at the Division III subsections to placing third at the master’s tournament and punching his ticket to state. Three impressive sophomores that should contend for state medals this season include Kainoa Medina, Eric Almarinez, and Ethan Birch. Both Medina and Birch were state participants while Almarinez was top 12 at the Sac-Joaquin master’s tournament.