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Stafford comes up just short, settles for second

Wrestling
By: Journal Sports Staff
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Lemoore High’s Nick Sierra outlasted Del Oro’s Jesse Stafford 6-4 to win the 152-pound title at the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield Saturday night. Stafford, a senior ranked second in the state, won five matches to reach the final after finishing fourth at 140 pounds a year ago. Sierra, a senior ranked No. 5 in California, led throughout the final battle. “It was pretty close,” co-coach Dave Sanchez said. “We just couldn’t get that last takedown we needed to get it into overtime. Jesse did an outstanding job and had a fantastic tournament. Only a fraction of a percentage ever get into the finals in the state of California. It’s an incredibly tough tournament.” Stafford was the only returning state qualifier of four Golden Eagles who advanced to the state championships. Sophomore Austin Branum beat Red Bluff senior Sultan Beardsley in his 130-pound opener before falling toNatrelle Demison, a Bakersfield sophomore, and Shane Yacuta, a Porterville junior. Demison finished fifth and Yacuta placed fourth. Del Oro junior Kevin Burrage dropped hiw only two matches at 140 pounds and junior Foster Fretland (145) lost early to eventual runner-up Cody Rodenaugh, a senior from San Lorenzo Valley. “It was a tough way to open things,” Sanchez said. “He had one of the toughest draws you could ask for.”