Oakmont's Santos powers to section Masters title at 170 pounds

Granite Bay’s Brown, Woodcreek's Gomez, Antelope’s Matu also punch tickets to CIF state tournament
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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STOCKTON — Oakmont High School senior Peter Santos and Woodcreek junior James Gomez took different routes to qualifying for the CIF State Championships. Santos took the drag strip; Gomez took a road course. Each was impressive in its own way.

Santos powered to the 170-pound championship at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships without allowing a point at Stockton Arena. Ranked No. 2 in the state by, he completed a five-match run with a 14-0 major decision over Devin Nooner of Folsom in the semifinals and a 10-0 major decision over No. 3 Keaton Subjeck of Oak Ridge in the final Saturday. On Friday, Santos won via pin in 20 seconds and by 16-0 and 15-0 technical falls.

Gomez lost his first match Friday and then reeled off seven consecutive victories to place third at 120 pounds. In the consolation bracket, Gomez won by first-round pin, 15-2 major decision, 7-0 decision and 19-4 technical fall before defeating Zach Ruybal of Del Oro 7-1. That avenged a loss to Ruybal in their Sierra Foothill League Tournament final. Gomez then defeated Josh Villaflor of Elk Grove-Franklin on a 13-4 major decision for third place. Gomez lost to Villaflor in the first round a day earlier.

Granite Bay senior Sean Brown lost to Rafael Herrera of Turlock 4-2 in the 126-pound semifinals Saturday morning but rebounded to place fourth. Brown beat Daniel Williams of Hughson 8-1 and fell to Cameron Bailey of Vacaville 5-1 for third place.

Also placing fourth was Antelope's Branton Matu, who lost to McCoy Kent of Modesto-Enochs 6-1 in the semifinals. Matu later beat Giovanni Murillo of Angels Camp-Bret Harte 3-1 and lost to Joey Abbate of Modesto-Central Catholic 4-3 for third.

Santos and Brown left Stockton Arena on Friday evening knowing they were headed to Bakersfield next weekend for the CIF State Championships.

Santos and Brown put on impressive performances on the first day of the Masters Championships, winning three matches each and advancing to the semifinals Saturday morning.

Santos is all-out dangerous on the wrestling mat right now. He opened with a pin in 20 seconds and followed with 16-0 and 15-0 technical falls in the 170-pound class.

“He’s been real quick,” Oakmont coach Justin Castrillo said. “Peter is so diverse, it’s hard to beat him anywhere. He’s super strong, fast, agile. He’s pretty much the whole package. And with his mental game, when he’s on, it’s hard for anyone to beat him.”

Devon Nooner of Folsom will be next in line when they meet in the semifinals. Keaton Subjeck of Oak Ridge and Johnathon Costa of Escalon face off in the other semifinal. Santos and Subjeck are ranked Nos. 2 and 3 in the state at 170, according to Santos won a 5-1 decision over Subjeck in the final at the Tim Brown Memorial in January.

Brown started with a first-round pin and followed with a 5-3 decision before pinning Paul Maroon of Benicia at 1:32 to achieve his goal of a berth in the state meet.

“It’s all gone by so fast,” Brown said Friday.

Brown last fall opted to have a portion of an injured knee ligament removed so he could salvage his senior season rather than approve the alternative: surgery to repair the ligament, which would have wiped out his season. Brown said the knee was 100 percent right after the Brown Memorial, and he’s since won Sierra Foothill League and Division I-AA section titles.

“He’s really starting to shine,” Grizzlies assistant coach Shane Dixon said of Brown. “He’s dedicated himself so much. We’re real excited for him.”

Eliminated Saturday were Woodcreek freshmen Jordan Jensen (106 pounds) and Angelo Uribe (113), Jon Maroon (132) of Roseville and Nathan Rhodes (220) of Antelope.

All other Roseville-area wrestlers were eliminated Friday, including two from Oakmont.

“It’s the Peter show,” Castrillo said of Santos. “We’re all here for him.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.