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THE PREPS : STATE WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS : Savanna’s Okada Wins Second Title, This Time at 135 Pounds

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tony Okada wowed ‘em again at the State Wrestling Championships Saturday night at the University of the Pacific’s Spanos Center.

Okada, a senior at Savanna High School, won his second consecutive state championship, this time at 135 pounds. Last year, he swept to the 132-pound title.

Saturday’s fall guy was Curtis Alkire of Monache, who couldn’t have known what awaited him when he stepped onto the mat a few minutes before 9 p.m.

A sellout crowd of 6,000 fans roared when Okada performed a tuck-and-roll through Alkire’s legs, turning a possible two-point takedown for Alkire into a takedown for himself.

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Okada’s move was one for the video archives. It would have been a perfect 10 at a gymnastics meet.

Certainly, it was the slickest move of the two-day tournament, one Okada had never tried before and had only seen once before.

“John Azevedo (Calvary Chapel coach and a 1980 Olympian) tried it on me when we were practicing for the Masters Meet a couple of weeks ago,” Okada said. “I sort of picked it up.”

Okada went on to a 14-2 victory over Alkire, qualifying for the national high school championship meet later this month. Okada was named Champion of Champions at the meet in a vote by his peers.

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He has compiled a 103-1 record over the past two seasons. His only loss came against Jason Mitchell of Canyon when he moved up to 140 pounds this season.

Later, Savanna Coach Tom Caspari said Okada’s latest performance was nothing he hadn’t expected. Why?

‘Because I knew,” he said. “There’s no one in the state who can wrestle in all phases of the match like he can.”

Against Alkire, that much was clear.

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Okada scored a takedown in the first 15 seconds of the match.

Alkire was sticking close, though, and a takedown would have moved him into the lead. But Okada shot through his legs and smashed Alkire’s spirit for good.

“I didn’t feel like getting taken down,” Okada said. “So it was the only thing I could do.”

Okada led, 6-1, after the first period and 12-2 after the second, then rode Alkire’s back in the third.

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So what’s left for Okada to prove?

Well, the national judo championships are next week in Detroit.

It should be another breeze, though. Okada is nationally ranked in open competition.

Asked if the meet would be too easy for him, he said “If you win, they send you to Japan for a meet.”

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Danny Santana’s bid for a championship at 145 pounds ended with a 5-1 semifinal loss to Kyle Porter of Hughson.

Santana, a senior from El Modena, finished third with a 5-1 victory over Pete Stayner of Sacramento Bella Vista.

“I’m a little disappointed with the whole weekend,” said Santana, who was making his first trip to the state meet. “Ronnie Long (of Temecula Valley) is going to take it and I beat him last week.”

As it turned out, Porter was better than Santana and Long, beating Long, 3-2, for the title.

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At last week’s Masters Meet, Santana beat Long, top-ranked in the state at 145 pounds, in the quarterfinals.

Tournament Notes

Other county results: Matt Baker of Katella was eighth at 125 pounds, Jason Nerio of Esperanza seventh at 152, Matt Padgett of Canyon sixth at 160, Erik Jacobs of El Modena eighth at 171 and heavyweight Adrian Ioja of Garden Grove finished seventh.


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