Trojan wrestlers peaking at right time

By: Matt Long
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Oak Ridge High’s wrestlers are peaking at the right time. Eight Trojans placed at the divisional tournament at Franklin High and qualified for this weekend’s Masters Tournament in Stockton. Keaton Subjeck and Vinny Waldhauser were the top seeds at 145 and 160 pounds, respectively, and held their seeds, winning their respective weight classes with three victories. Subjeck won the tournament with a pin followed by a pair of major decision victories, while Waldhauser picked up a pin and also won matches by injury default and a technical fall. The Trojans had three third-place finishers and all put together their best performance of the season. Alex Diaz (152), Zach Claiborne (171) and Preston Dean (189) each dropped only one bout, Claiborne and Dean losing to the eventual champion and Diaz falling to the runner-up. “All three of those guys wrestled great,” Oak Ridge coach Casey Rhyan said. “Alex beat a guy in triple overtime and another guy with a takedown in the final 10 seconds. Preston beat two ranked guys and Zach, he’s a guy who only weighs 165 pounds and his only loss at 173 was to the third-ranked guy in the state. They all came up big and they all had their best tournament of the season.” Cameron Miller placed fourth at 125 pounds, splitting his four matches, while Taylor Ellerman finished fifth at 140 and Xavier Lopez ended up sixth at 215 pounds. Ellerman won three of his five matches, while Lopez won two of his five matches. Oak Ridge placed fifth as a team, but Rhyan was as proud as he would have been if the team had won the tournament. “Everyone is peaking at the right time,” Rhyan said. “We’ve wrestled in a lot of tough tournaments and a lot of these guys didn’t place in some of those, but by facing those tough opponents and staying positive, they’re wrestling better now than they ever have. We just outworked everybody. On the second day of the tournament we won 20 of 23 matches and we were tied or losing in the third period of seven of those matches. It just shows the heart that these guys have. This is as proud as I’ve been in my four years at Oak Ridge (two years as head coach).” At this weekend’s Masters tournament, the top-seven placers in each weight class advance to the state meet in Bakersfield to be held March 4-5.