Del Oro junior Branum fifth at state tourney

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Austin Branum doesn’t have a big, elaborate meal planned to reward himself for a fifth place finish at the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield Friday and Saturday. “I’ll eat anything I see,” the Del Oro High junior said. Branum capped an outstanding season by going 5-2 at the final tournament of the year, which includes the top 48 wrestlers in the state in each weight class. Branum, a 140-pounder, beat Bakersfield’s Rudy Ramirez in the fifth place match, 8-4 Saturday. “I’m pleased with it,” Branum said of his finish. “I kind of expected a little more, but I worked hard for it. At state everyone there can make it to the medal round, so it’s just about who has a better tournament. Next y ear my goal is to try and win it.” Del Oro senior Foster Fretland made the top 16 before losing at 160. Kevin Burrage, the Sac-Joaquin Section champion at 152, made the top 24 before falling. “It was a great season for them,” Del Oro coach Dave Sanchez said. “It was a tough year for the team, but a great way to finish. We’ve had nine state placers in the last 10 years and Austin kept that going for us.” Bear River senior Juan Gudino lost his first two matches at 119 and was eliminated.