Congratulations to Oak Hills Coach Dave Stidham!!!
COACH OF THE YEAR
DAVE STIDHAM, OAK HILLS
Stidham became only the second area coach to have at least two state placers in two different seasons. The Bulldogs produced five state qualifiers, including two placers, three in the top 12 and four in the top 16. Oak Hills won an MRL title in its first season as a member of the league, and finished second as a team at Masters, the CIF-SS Individuals Eastern Division Championships and at the CIF-SS Dual Meet Division I Championships. The Bulldogs had an undefeated dual regular season for the second time with their only losses coming at the section dual tournaments.
And Two underclassemen National All Americans!!!
Oak Hills' Delgado finished sixth at State Championships
March 31, 2011 11:30 PM
By C.J. DAFT, STAFF WRITER
Ray Delgado never had to worry about making weight this season.
The Oak Hills senior had the choice to either cut down and compete at 112 pounds or wrestle at 119, two pounds lighter than what he naturally weighs, and face bigger wrestlers cutting down weight in a very competitive class.
He was coming off a junior season in which he missed out on placing at state by a match, and the lower weight was considered by some to be an easier road to Delgado’s goal of being a state placer.
Delgado chose the higher weight, and it enabled him more flexibility in his diet.
“Anything my parents ate, I ate,” Delgado said. “There wasn’t anything I didn’t eat.”
The decision ended up working out for Delgado, who qualified for the CIF State Wrestling Championships for the second time and reached the semifinals before placing sixth. Prior to state, he reached the final match of every individual tournament in which he competed except for the Temecula Valley Invitational, where he finished third.
Delgado won four tournaments (the CIF-Southern Section Individuals Eastern Division Championships, the Mojave River League Finals, the North Torrance TOC and the Raul Huerta Memorial Tournament) and took second at three others (the CIF-SS Masters Meet, the Colton Christmas Classic and the Carter Invitational). He finished the season with a 50-6 record.
He helped Oak Hills to an MRL title, a second undefeated dual regular season and second-place finishes at the three CIF-SS postseason tournaments.
Delgado was arguably the best and most consistent wrestler in the High Desert, and for that, he has been named the 2011 Daily Press Wrestling Athlete of the Year.
“I’ve known Ray long enough to trust his judgment,” Stidham said. “He proved to everybody he could (wrestle at 119).”
Delgado — who hasn’t lost a dual match since the section dual championships his sophomore year — had an outstanding prep career, with the first two years spent at Hesperia before Oak Hills opened.
He reached CIF-SS Individuals finals four times (winning his only title this year), earned Masters berths four times and was a two-time state qualifier — grabbing a top 12 finish as a junior at 112 pounds.
When Delgado chose to come to Oak Hills last year, both he and Robert Marchese were returning Masters qualifiers from Hesperia, but there wasn’t much varsity experience on the team. Zach Vom Steeg had finished fourth at MRL Finals the year before, Alec DePauw wrestled some varsity and Alex Soriano was a B Varsity wrestler in his final year at Hesperia.
Delgado immediately took on a leadership role with the new school.
“Even if I have to cut those five pounds, I’ll go help out a kid that needs help with wrestling,” Delgado said. “That’s all I was doing my junior year. I was more concerned with how the team was doing than myself. When we lost in the semifinals of the CIF Duals my junior year, I was crushed because that’s all I worked on was the team. This year, too, but not as much as last year.”
“He’s been a great leader from Day 1,” Stidham said. “He has that attitude and confidence, that seems like ****iness. It’s just a great confidence that he knows he can compete, and it rubs off on his teammates. He’s a perfect example of lead by example.”
Delgado has matured from his junior high days at Cobalt Middle School in Victorville. An altercation during his eighth grade season with a coach led his parents to pulling him out of school, and he was home-schooled the rest of the year.
He ended up enrolling at Hesperia his freshman year because of its disciplined program.
“(With Stidham) you stay on track or you’re not going to be on the team, no matter how good you are,” Delgado said. “That’s what I loved, and my dad too, about (him).”
He said he used to get into 15 fights a year, but the most trouble he’s found himself in during the last four years was for using his cell phone too much at school.
“All the credit goes to him,” Stidham said. “He hasn’t been in trouble. He’s done what he needed to do get through.”
This weekend, Delgado is competing at the NHSCA National Wrestling Championship senior division, and he has dropped to 112. He’s looking to compete at an NAIA college next school year and hopes to come back and help coach in a couple years when his younger brother, Isaac Delgado, reaches high school.
“It was a good year,” Delgado said. “I wouldn’t take it back for anything, but like in any athlete’s mind, you always think you can do better. That’s really what is. I’m glad it happened. State placer is what I wanted to be my whole life, (and I’m) glad to do it.”
ZACH VOM STEEG
160, SR., OAK HILLS
Vom Steeg went from just missing out on being a Masters qualifier as a junior to finishing in the top 16 at state. Vom Steeg won titles at the MRL Finals and the Al Dingwall Memorial Tournament. He was a finalist at the Colton Christmas Classic, third at CIF-SS Individuals, seventh at Masters and a top 12 finisher at Temecula.
171, JR., OAK HILLS
Marchese became the Bulldogs’ first two-time state placer earlier this month after wrestling at 189 pounds during the regular season and earned All-American status by reaching the NHSCA National Wrestling Championship junior division finals. Marchese finished seventh at state and second at Masters while winning titles at CIF-SS Individuals, the MRL Finals, the Carter Invitational and the Colton Christmas Classic. He also was a finalist at the North Torrance TOC and the Raul Huerta Memorial.
215, SR., OAK HILLS
Aguirre, a Serrano transfer, came within a match of placing at the CIF-State Championships in his first appearance and earned himself a wild card berth into Senior Nationals. He finished third at Masters, second at CIF-SS Individuals and first at the MRL Finals. Aguirre also won titles at Carter and Colton, and placed second at the North Torrance TOC, fourth at Temecula Valley and fifth at the Raul Huerta Memorial.
HEAVYWEIGHT, SR., OAK HILLS
Jimenez only had a year of wrestling experience coming into the season, but advanced to the CIF State Championships and won a match there. Along the way, he captured the CIF-SS Individuals Eastern Division upperweight MVP, won titles at the MRL Finals and the San Bernardino County Championships — where he earned an upperweight MVP honor — took fourth at Carter and finished eighth at both the CIF-SS Masters as well as the Raul Huerta Memorial Tournament.
Isaiah Culpepper (Oak Hills);
Justin Gillham-3rd Place Freshman National All American!!!