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Oakmont wrestler Santos on top of his game heading to state meet

By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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This will be Peter Santos’ fourth trip to the CIF State Wrestling Championships, so he got over, as he put it, the “shock-and-awe thing” three years ago.

The Oakmont High School senior came up short on his goal of winning a state title last year, though he earned a fifth-place medal, and he has given a verbal commitment to attend North Carolina State next fall.

So, there’s really one thing and one thing only Santos has had on his mind all week before making the trip to Bakersfield, and that’s winning the 170-pound championship. The tournament runs today and Saturday at Rabobank Arena.

“That’s the mission I’m on right now,” Santos said Monday before beginning his final week of high school practice.

Santos is ranked No. 2 in the state by www.thecaliforniawrestler.com behind Hesperia-Sultana junior Corey Griego, and they’ve split two matches with Santos winning 2-0 in overtime at the Walsh Ironman and Griego nipping Santos 1-0 in the Doc Buchanan Invitational final.

Santos has won six events this season, and his current string of titles in the Tim Brown Memorial, Capital Valley Conference, Sac-Joaquin Section Division II and Masters tournaments has lifted his season record to 40-2.

Even more impressive was how Santos ruled the 170 division last weekend in Stockton. For starters, he didn’t allow a point. Santos opened with a 20-second pin and followed with 16-0 and 15-0 technical falls on the first day of competition. He came back Saturday to score a 14-0 major decision over Devon Nooner of Folsom and a 10-0 major decision over No. 3-ranked — but injured — Keaton Subjeck of Oak Ridge in the final.

Santos has wrestled since he was 4. He also played football his first two years at Woodcreek before moving to the Oakmont area and transferring schools.

That gave Santos the opportunity to tangle in practice last season with new teammate Jake Elliott, a state champion in 2011 and a runner-up in 2012. Santos said working out with Elliott helped him, “especially on my feet.” It also added speed and “technical stuff” to his game.

Santos said he has worked this season “trying to perfect the little things I do,” such as footwork, setups, tilts and hand fighting. Santos also does cross-fit training, which has increased his strength and stamina.

Oakmont coach Justin Castrillo said Santos is “pretty much the whole package” right now.

“Peter is so diverse, it’s hard to beat him anywhere,” Castrillo said. “He’s super strong, fast, agile. And with his mental game, when he’s on, it’s hard for anyone to beat him.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.