Valiant Viking takes on toughest weight class

Oakmont sophomore Elliott enjoys mat success early
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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With the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters wrestling tournament in full gear this weekend, Jake Elliott of Oakmont has put himself on the map in the 130-pound weight class.


Elliott won his division at both the Sierra Foothill League and Division II section finals, and now he is looking for a spot at the state championships in Bakersfield next weekend.


The sophomore began wrestling in sixth grade at Eich Intermediate School. With his family as his main support, Elliott has come a long way in a relatively short time. His older brother, younger sister, mother and father rally around his abilities. Elliott’s father, Stuart, was the assistant coach at Eich and is a member of Oakmont’s current coaching staff.  He competed for the Army in Germany and won the European freestyle tournament while stationed in Europe.


While Jake attended junior high, his dad asked him to try wrestling, and according to Jake it was a simple answer.


“To be honest I really was not the best when I first started,” Elliott said. “I didn’t win a match at all but kept on pushing myself daily and strived to be the best that I could be.”


The 130-pound division is the toughest in the area, but it is a weight class Elliott has dominated against the likes of Roseville’s Dylan Jankovich and Del Oro’s Austin Branum.


Elliott took fourth at the Tim Brown Memorial Tournament, third in Modesto and sixth at TOC. He was a member of the California National Freestyle and Greco Team last year where he traveled to Fargo, North Dakota to compete in one of the largest most prestigious tournaments in the world.

According to Elliott wrestling is like a chess match.


“You think 10 moves ahead to see where you can get your opponent so you can score,” Elliott said. “What drives me though is my dad.  He motivates me and tells me that I can be the best.  I’m also motivated by college and Olympic wrestlers with the goal to become a national champion for a Big 10 college.”


Elliott holds that his successes rest on the time he puts into the sport and how much he pushes himself day by day. Oakmont coach Dave Wells said the strongest talent Elliott possesses is his will to compete.  His work ethic at the highest competitive level gives the young Viking a strong presence on the mat.


“Not just for himself, but also toward motivating others,” Wells said.  “He is always teaching new moves to others and cheering for his teammates when he is on the sidelines.” 


For that, Wells awarded the co-captain role alongside 217-pounder Russell LeBard.


“Jake is always there for pointers and works out with a wide range of other students in the room to help them develop and hone their skills on the mat,” Wells said.  “The team also really does the same for Jake. We enjoy his success on the mat, which often turns itself into a more motivated and upbeat practice room.”

Yainni Athens is a sophomore at Oakmont and a close friend of Elliott’s.  In his fourth year of wrestling he has spent two of those with the Vikings.


“Jake is very mentally strong.  As a team leader he is very inspirational,” Athens said. “His technique is as good as you could possibly see at a high school level.  He’s a great friend and team captain.”


Athens has seen Elliott go all out against Roseville’s Jankovich this season.  When they get together, they go all out.


“Neither one leaves one ounce of energy left that they can use,” Athens said. “They are really good friends because we go and practice with them now for sections. They laugh and have fun together but when they get on the mat they’re both looking to win. There’s not really any friction between them, but they give each other a good run for the money.”


According to Elliott’s new practice teammate, Jankovich, the high school series stands at 3-1 in favor of Elliott, with the Oakmont grappler owning three head-to-head wins this season. Jankovich has the distinction of having qualified for the state tournament last season as a sophomore.


“Last year in our league match I beat him I think 8-2,” Jankovich said. “With Jake I can work my technique better than most people on my team or, his team for that matter.  He helps me with my conditioning and my technique.  I’m helping him out too so we’re both benefitting from it.”


The two met for the league title, an overtime win for Elliott, and again the following week at the D-II finals.


The section Masters concludes Saturday at the Stockton Arena.


About Jake Elliott


Jake Elliott

Oakmont wrestling
personal info: 5-foot-8, 130 pounds, 16 years old

Family – Parents Kimberly and Stuart Elliott; brother Brock and sister Morgan
Favorite wrestlers -  J. Jaggers of Ohio State, Brent Metcalf of Iowa and Cael Sanderson

Heroes -  “The man I look up to is my father, Stuart Elliott. Also my grandfather William Elliott.”

Favorite food - pizza
Favorite quote - A bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
College you plan to attend, planned course of study - Ohio State, sports medicine.
If you could wrestle anyone, past or present, who would it be? “I would have to say the best 130-pound wrestler there is right now to see where I stand with wrestling and how good I am.”
Most memorable moment wrestling- “I would have to say wrestling with my Coach Williams in eighth grade and placing in TOC.”
If you could take any girl/woman in the world to the prom who would it be? Bo Browning.