Five Eagles take D-II titles

By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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LOOMIS — Del Oro High junior Jesse Stafford couldn’t even bring himself to crack a smile after the biggest win of his career Saturday night. Stafford stunned last year’s state runner-up Kyle West 4-3 to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II 140-pound title Saturday at Del Oro. But even after the huge win, Stafford kept it in perspective. “It’s a good win, but I’ve got to beat him two more times,” said Stafford, referring to next week’s Masters meet and the ensuing state championships. “I’ve been working really hard running and lifting and I think I was in better shape in the third period.” Stafford was one of five individual champions for the host Golden Eagles, who took third place as a team behind Oak Ridge and Ponderosa. Senior Connor Morgan was the first of five Del Oro wrestlers in the finals. He crushed Oak Ridge’s Josh Dawson with a technical fall to win the 130-pound title. Senior Corey Johnson followed with another dominant performance, beating Nevada Union’s Robin Callas 13-6. Following Stafford’s victory, sophomore Kevin Burrage lost to Oak Ridge sophomore Vince Walderhauser 7-0 at 145. Del Oro senior Casey Schumacher was impressive at 152, posting a 7-0 win over Rocklin’s Shane Masnica. Del Oro’s fifth gold came from senior Bobby Gallagher in a thrilling heavyweight bout. Gallagher’s match against Oak Ridge’s Kavon Tillotson went to overtime before Gallagher fought to get a pin. Del Oro freshman Austin Branum took third place at 119. In the same division, Auburn’s Spencer Mason, of Woodcreek, fell in the finals. Eagles sophomore Dillon Petretti was third at 125 and senior Justin McGuire took fifth at 215. All nine Del Oro grapplers will advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet next week. At the Division IV Championships at Whitney High, Placer qualified five grapplers for the Masters Meet. Andrew Naleway wrestled his way to third at 112 and Joe Thornton took third at 125 to lead the Hillmen, who were third as a team behind Oakdale and Foothill. Dalton Richardson took fourth at 119 for Placer. Mitchell Maddox was fourth at 130 and Daniel Weathers placed fourth at 171. Jake Styler (215) and Carl Pavich (135) both took sixth, just missing out on Masters bids. Bear River’s Jarrett Paoletti took third at 152 to lead the Bruins. Josiah Jorgenson was fifth at 145 and Chris Hankins wrestled to fifth at 112.