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Ploke, Subjeck lead Oak Ridge at Trojan War Invitational

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Even without two of their top wrestlers, Oak Ridge High’s varsity wrestling team won the Trojan War Invitational Saturday, as 10 wrestlers placed in the tournament.

It came as no surprise that Keaton Subjeck won the 182-pound weight class, winning easily with two pins and a technical fall coming in the finals, but sophomore Josh Ploke’s win at 106 pounds was a pleasant surprise for the Trojans. Ploke pinned his first two opponents, before upsetting Orland’s Hugo Punzo in the finals, 7-5.

“That was a big win for Josh because his opponent is ranked 12th in the state,” Oak Ridge coach Casey Rhyan said. “It was a big upset and I was pretty excited about it, and so was Josh. He needs some confidence and this tournament should be a big boost for him. This proves that he’s that caliber of kid. He got beat pretty badly by Alvarez of Folsom in our dual and this kid is just as good, if not better than Alvarez. Josh has to realize that he’s that good.”

For their efforts, Ploke and Subjeck were recognized as the outstanding lightweight and heavyweight wrestlers in the tournament, respectively.

The Trojans had three wrestlers take second place in their respective weight classes, in Brandon Claiborne (145), Ali Atebar (160) and James Portilla (170). Claiborne pinned his first two opponents, before losing by a fall. Atebar had to win three matches to reach the finals, where he lost by a narrow 5-3 decision. Atebar won his first three matches by major decision (13-1), pin and decision (12-6).

Portilla won three straight matches by decision, 7-5, 6-2 and 6-1 to reach the final, where he lost 9-2.

“James is a very good wrestler, but he’s just stuck behind two guys that are better than him at 170 pounds,” Rhyan said. “He made it to the finals and upset a couple kids along the way, so it was a very good tournament for him.”
Ryan Redhair placed third at 132 pounds, while Christian Portilla and Sherman McVay were fifth at 113 and 195, respectively. Kevan Cryan (152) and Bishane Segal (170) earned sixth-place finishes.

Without Zach Claiborne and Jacob Proul, the Trojans were still able to win the team tournament, outscoring runner-up Orland by 11 points.

“We were down by three heading into the final round and had five matches with Orland and won all five of them,” Rhyan said.

The Trojans host archrival Ponderosa today in a dual tournament, junior varsity starting at 6 p.m. and varsity following at 7 p.m.

“I hope this is a good lead-in to our dual with Ponderosa,” Rhyan said. “I think this dual could be a barn-burner. I think it’s one of those matches where anything can happen and I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.”