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Ten Eagles, six Grizzlies lead Masters qualifiers

Elliott edges Jankovich again in 130-pound battle
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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While Oakmont and Rocklin did not deliver a large volume of qualifiers for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters wrestling finals, the individuals who will represent those two schools do so as Division II champions. The 130-pound division delivered as promised once again Saturday at Oak Ridge High in El Dorado Hills, as Oakmont’s Jake Elliott knocked off cross-town rival Dylan Jankovich of Roseville in the final, just as he did at the Sierra Foothill League finals. The 6-4 decision made Elliott the section D-II champion and sends both wrestlers on to the SJS Masters finals next Friday and Saturday at the Stockton Arena. Elliott, a sophomore, is the only Viking moving on to Stockton, just as Rocklin senior Tommy Williams, the champion at 145 pounds is the lone Thunder grappler headed to the Masters. The top five finishers at this weekend’s D-II finals qualify to advance. The impressive team performances were put on, as expected, by Del Oro and Granite Bay. The Golden Eagles will send 10 wrestlers on to Stockton, led by a pair of D-II title winners – Jesse Stafford at 152 pounds and Dylan Blomgren at 135. Other Del Oro wrestlers advancing are junior Kevin Burrage (second at 140), senior Shane Plummer (second, 215), senior Eddie Love (second at 189), sophomore Austin Branum (third, 130) and three fourth-place finishers – Danny Jacoshenk (119), Jake Uhler (171) and Foster Fretland (145). Brendon Montoya (112) rounds out the Del Oro nine with his fifth place result. Granite Bay sends six young men on to Stockton, led by 275-pound champion Gavin Andrews. The sophomore delivered an impressive performance over the two-day event with three pins, including the title bout victory over Dylan Craik of Union Mine. “While all of our kids wrestled really well, Gavin Andrews had a great tournament, pinning all opponents,” said Granite Bay coach Mike Lynch. “His championship match was an impressive display of athletic skill. As a sophomore competing against upper classmen, he hit three very athletic moves during the match that wowed all of the spectators. It wasn't just a case of a big kid in a match. It was a case of a big, skilled athlete employing techniques that he has worked all season to develop. It will be fun to watch this whole crew continue to develop.” Four Grizzlies finished in third position – sophomore Shane Saylor (103), sophomore Andrew Broadland (112), sophomore Adam Wagner (145) and junior William Anderson (189). Charlie Gordon won the fifth-place match at 160 pounds by pin over Nick Grunsky of Vista del Lago to earn a spot in Stockton as well. Granite Bay had three wrestlers finish just outside the qualifying fifth place spot as sophomores Daniel Flinders (119) and Ian Mook (125), and freshman Johnny Cooley (135) all finished sixth. Friday’s major concern for the Grizzlies surrounded the injury of senior Carson Schmidley, who broke his leg in his second bout at 152 pounds. “Carson underwent surgery on Saturday, and will have some hardware attached to both his tibia and fibula,” Lynch said. “He will be on crutches for the next six to eight weeks. It is a hard way to end one's high school athletic career. “Carson displayed great courage and fortitude during his ordeal. How he handled the situation was pretty impressive, and what was heartwarming was the outpouring of sympathy, concern, and respect that every person in the building showed. The high school wrestling community has many intense rivalries but, at the same time, is a very close knit community. It was a lift for all of the Grizzlies and, of course, Carson and his family to feel the love and support that came our way when Carson was injured.” Junior Sean Merigold (103) and freshman Peter Santos (125) led the Woodcreek contingent, as both youngsters earned second-place results and spots at the Masters. Junior Angelo Ciaraglia (135) will join them in Stockton after his fifth place finish, while sophomore Austin Mason was the odd man out in the brutal 130-pound division, where he finished sixth. Roseville qualified a pair of wrestlers for Stockton as both Ryan Fratto (171) and Jankovich finished in second place. The Masters meet is the final qualifier for the state finals. It will be contested Friday and Saturday in Stockton.