Claiborne wins at Mettler InvitationalBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
Weekends don’t get much better than the one Oak Ridge High’s wrestling program just had.
Keaton Subjeck provided the top-highlight by placing fifth at 170 pounds at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament in Ohio, regarded as one of the toughest tournaments in the nation.
A majority of Oak Ridge’s varsity wrestlers competed at the Curt Mettler Invite at Elk Grove High and even without their top wrestler, the Trojans had one of their better days at the tournament, according to coach Casey Rhyan.
The biggest highlight came from freshman Brandon Claiborne, who won the 145-pound weight class, defeating two highly-regarded wrestlers from Folsom High, Lorenzo De La Riva and Mason Koshiyama, along the way.
“I don’t think we had any wrestler seeded higher than sixth, including Brandon, and he just had a great tournament,” Rhyan said. “It was a really big day for him and it looks like he will be a force for us.”
Senior Ali Atebar also had a good day at 160 pounds, as he placed second.
“Ali wasn’t seeded very high either, but he beat the No. 3 seed from Elk Grove, Joey Lopez, and also beat Cordero Rios from Chico, who’s ranked number-one in the North section,” Rhyan said. “Ali is coming off an elbow injury from last year and he’s worked so hard in the offseason.”
Oak Ridge’s James Portilla placed third at 170 pounds, while Bishane Sagal (182) and Josh Ploke (106) placed fifth.
Sherman McVay finished seventh at 195, while Kevan Cryan placed eighth at 152.
“It’s one of the best showings we’ve ever had at the tournament and we were without several key wrestlers like Keaton, Zach Claiborne and Jacob Proul,” Rhyan said.
At the junior varsity King of the Mountain Tournament at El Dorado High, the Trojans had a pair of first-place finishers in Nick Diaz-Kokasi and Jake Plaskon. Aiden Storlie, Logan Mills and Jacob Beck placed second in their weight classes.
Also at the Natomas JV Duals, Oak Ridge placed first with wins over Woodland, Monterey Trail, Jesuit and Antelope. The Trojans earned 25 pins during the tournament.
“We’ve got a young team and have a lot of first-year varsity wrestlers and that’s why this weekend was so impressive,” Rhyan said. “This is the hardest-working group I’ve ever had in terms of what they did this offseason. We were working out four and five days a week and then in the fall we lifted three days a week and wrestled the other two days. All that hard work is paying off. This group has responded well. These guys are willing to put the work in to be good. They make all the sacrifices. They do everything they can to be the best and that always pays off in some form.”