Oakmont's Elliott, Santos win section Masters championships
STOCKTON – Jake Elliott is not one for game plans.
The Oakmont High School senior eschews gearing up for individual opponents in favor of a more inward approach. That served him well this week at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Wrestling Tournament, as the anticipated third match between he and Del Oro senior Austin Branum for the 152-pound title never materialized.
Elliott claimed the 152-pound championship, his second consecutive section crown, with an impressive 11-4 decision over Granite Bay senior Adam Wagner, who beat Branum in the semifinals earlier Friday.
“I didn’t get the early fall I was looking for,” Elliott said. “But I was able to control him for most of the match.”
Elliott took control with an early takedown and a near-fall for a 5-0 lead after the first period. Wagner escaped Elliott on several occasions but couldn't mount an offense on last year’s section and state 145-pound champion.
“I came into this tournament on a mission,” said Elliott, who breezed through the bracket with two technical falls, a pin and two decisions. “I feel like I did what I needed to do.”
Elliott likely will enter the CIF State Championships next weekend at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield opposite national No. 2 Isaiah Martinez of Lemoore.
Elliott’s practice partner, Peter Santos, was the area’s only other section champion, as he took the 170-pound title for Oakmont in a thrilling 4-2 decision over Union Mine’s Mitchell Woods. After being denied an escape midway through the third period – it appeared to occur inbounds, though the referee ruled him out – Santos earned a reversal as the clock hit 0:00, much to the chagrin of the Diamondbacks’ coaches.
Santos wrestled up one weight class for the postseason after spending much of the season at 160.
“This is when you to start peaking,” Oakmont coach Dave Wells said. “This is when you turn it on.”
Oakmont was the highest-placing Placer County school, taking eighth with 68 points buoyed by their two champions and sophomore Kaleio Romero’s eighth-place finish at 138.
Branum rebounded from his semifinal loss with easy wins in the consolation semifinals and third-place match. He defeated Jacob Holley of Lodi 6-1 for third. Del Oro teammate Dylan Kainrath, a sophomore, took fifth place at 170 pounds via injury default.
Woodcreek sophomore Jimmy Gomez took third place in the 106 class with a 7-5 decision over Nico Colunga of Oakdale.
Granite Bay senior Ian Mook lost to Viottorio Sunny Jackson of Elk Grove 6-5 and finished sixth at 138.