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Del Oro sending 5 wrestlers to State Meet

Season for Placer, Bear River comes to an end
By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
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STOCKTON – Don’t tell Isaac Blackburn that rankings matter. The 103-pound junior finished in second place at the Sac Joaquin Section Masters tournament on Saturday at the Stockton Arena despite coming into the tournament ranked fifth in the section.

“The rankings are good and give you a general area of where you are at, but I don’t follow the rankings,” Blackburn said. “I don’t care what the other person is ranked. I am going to do my best to take it to them.”

Along with Blackburn, a total of five Del Oro wrestlers advance to the State Meet March 1-2 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

Clay Shropshire (113 pounds) finished in fifth place, Zach Ruybal

(120) finished in seventh, Johnny Zieour (145) finished in fourth and Dylan Kainrath (170) finished sixth.

Del Oro also finished third overall in team scoring with 113 points — amazing seeing how the Golden Eagles were ranked 10th in the section coming into the tournament.

“It feels great. Last year we only had two (state qualifiers),” Del Oro coach Clint Madden said. “We strive to have multiple qualifiers. We haven’t had this many in a long time.”

The third-place finish and five state qualifies is the best Masters finish for Del Oro since 2007.

And leading by example, Blackburn, who is ranked 22nd in the state and fifth in the section with a 48-6 record, defeated Tristan Scott of Elk Grove by pin. Scott came into the weekend ranked third in the section and 16th in the state.

Then in the semifinals on Saturday morning, Blackburn again played the role of underdog winner with a 6-4 decision over Nico Colunga of Oakdale. Colunga came in ranked second in the section and 13th in California.

“It felt good to beat Nico Colunga because he has beaten me in the past,” Blackburn said. “It was like revenge. It was really cool.”

But in the finals, Blackburn knew his task would be daunting against the No. 1 state-ranked Gion Peralta of Vacaville. Peralta won by fall at the 54.9-second mark in the first period.

“(It feels) really good. I was really happy with how I did. Not much you can really do against Peralta,” Blackburn said. “He just an all-around great wrestler.”

Madden said that Blackburn “really set the standard for the team.”

“Starting from the beginning of the season he has been the rock and getting better and better,” Madden said.

Four of the five state qualifiers will return next season for Del Oro.

“I am so proud of all of our kids,” Madden said. “All of them were fighting for every match.”

Placer, Bear River wrestlers fall short of state

Myles Lenover finished in eight place at 170-pounds with a 8-4 decision loss to Ezra Morgan of Napa, eliminating the Hillmen from state qualification.

Regardless, coach Don Packheiser was pleased with his team’s overall performance and how Lenover, a junior, competed over the weekend against the best completion in the section.

“Eight place at Master is awesome. He is upset obviously and disappointed,” Packheiser said. “He thought he was going to state. I thought he had a great chance after his run today. He really stepped it up and fell just a little short. I am really proud of him and the rest of the team.”

Both Carter Danielli (106) and Travis McKnight (220) of Bear River advanced to Day Two of the Master’s on Saturday, but fell in the opening round of consolations in the morning brackets and were eliminated.