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Wrestling: Oakmont starts strong, but loses at Bella Vista

By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Capital Valley Conference contention was heated in a 45-25 Bella Vista wrestling match win over visiting Oakmont on Wednesday night.

The Vikings were out to a 15-3 lead on the perennial-contending and always talented Mustangs. An Oakmont lead through three bouts was squandered as a pair of state-ranked Bella Vista wrestlers began a run where they pinned four of the final six Vikings to seal the win.

Kleil Romero pinned his opponent and put Oakmont up 21-12 halfway through the match. He was dominant as Bella Vista had pinned two of the previous three Vikings.

“I locked up a cradle and tried to go to the opposite side, but it wasn’t working so I rolled through a suicide cradle and got him on his back,” said Romero.

Challenging Bella Vista never comes easy. Shane Tucker followed Romero’s bout and pinned his Oakmont opponent within seconds of the start.

“A lot of people didn’t think we were going to win this duel, but the way it’s turning out so far we might,” said Romero.

To that point Oakmont had won three of five bouts before the dominant weight classes took over for Bella Vista.

The Mustangs, and everyone else in the country for that matter, were unable to wrangle No. 12 nationally-ranked Peter Santos.

His bout went the distance against a familiar opponent, but wasn’t without its frustrations between him and his coach, Justin Castrillo.

“Coach was making me a little upset. It was from this last weekend, he was bringing up old stuff,” said Santos.

Despite the tiff, Santos won a 7-3 decision and narrowly missed a tech final, which would have required 15 points. A hold slipped near the end of the bout, but he still won the decision.

“I know all of those [Bella Vista] guys; I train with them,” said Santos. He wrestled his long-time friend and training partner, Sam Pfau, who ranks among the best in the state.

“I’ve always gotten the better of [Sam]. I think I’ve pinned him twice out of four times, but the other times I just beat him by points,” said Santos.

Oakmont will need exactly that going ahead – points.

The Oak Ridge tournament is coming up and another tournament against the Sac-Joaquin Section’s best.

The Vikings will have to face Christian Brothers and Casa in league first.

“We hung in there with the best here tonight,” said Castrillo. “We lost a 12-point swing with our starting 220-pounder [Zach Sidhu] quitting on Friday. I expect big things and I put a lot of pressure on my team and it shows. Their cardio was great tonight and they wrestled well.”