Del Oro pair grab section crowns

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Austin Branum and Kevin Burrage took the direct path to the CIF State Wrestling Championships. Foster Fretland took the scenic route. Branum and Burrage brought Sac-Joaquin Section Championships back to Del Oro High after cruising through their respective weight classes at the Stockton Arena Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile Fretland lost his first match of the Masters tournament before reeling off seven straight wins to place third at 160. “That’s really hard to do at Masters,” Del Oro coach Dave Sanchez said of Fretland’s feat. “We’re really proud.” Branum, a 140-pound junior, defeated Placer senior Joe Thornton in a quarterfinal match Friday. In the championship bout he beat Vacaville’s Kai Loechler 6-3. Burrage posted a 5-2 win over Pioneer’s Tyler Thomas in the championship match at 152. The senior defeated Granite Bay’s Adam Wagner 5-3 in the semifinals. Sanchez said it was the first time Del Oro had two section champions in one season since 1996. The Golden Eagles placed fifth as a team. Oakdale won the tournament. Thornton had Placer’s best showing. He fell to Union Mine standout Sean Tow in the consolation bracket Saturday. Bear River senior Juan Gudino won four matches, but fell short in his bid for a state berth. Del Oro senior Jake Uhler also went 4-2, finishing one match away from placing.