Joel DePaoli was on a mission going into the 152-pound finals of Sonora High School's 34th annual Robert Hatler Memorial Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at Bud Castle Gym.

"It was the most focused I've ever been, because I really wanted it," DePaoli said.

What the Sonora senior wanted was a second straight Hatler championship, and he got it with a dominating second-round pin of Ben Corsaro from Tokay of Lodi.

DePaoli (15-3) took a quick 2-0 lead with a first-round takedown, then spent the next couple of minutes rubbing Corsaro around the mat, carefully trying to set up a pinning combination. The end came quickly and emphatically in the early stages of the second round.

"I just wanted to be methodical," DePaoli said. "I didn't want to make any mistakes."

He didn't, and added the title to the Hatler crown he won last year at 140 pounds.

"If feels great," DePaoli said. "There just aren't words that can express it."

DePaoli was Sonora's lone champion, and he led the Wildcats to a fifth-place finish out of 17 teams with 144 points. Calaveras won with 204 1/2, Tokay was second with 185 1/2, 2002 champion Oakdale was third with 147 1/2, and Lodi was fourth with 145 (see complete results on Page 3B).

Andrew Ramirez was second for Sonora at 140, Gabe Prieto third at 103, Jex Baldwin third at 160, Andrew Blume third at 215, Jed Mele fifth (tie) at 135, Nick Blume sixth at 112, and Rory Anderson sixth at 171.

"We wrestled well," Sonora coach Jon Abernathy said. "There was good wrestling by all the schools all day long."

Justin Cole was Summerville's top finisher as he tied Mele for fifth at 135.

Calaveras champions Sam Fragoza (112) and J.R. Macias

(189) were named the tournament's outstanding lower-weight and upper-weight wrestlers, respectively.

Other champions were Hugo Gomez of Riverbank at 119, Jeff Cox of Oakdale at 130, Loren Carley of Calaveras at 135, Tyler Price of Oakdale at 145, Mike Williamson of Oakdale at 160, Scott Gaines of Tokay at 171, and Troy Baker of Calaveras in the heavyweight division.

The Union Democrat
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