Although just a freshman, Dakota Stephens wrestled like a true veteran. In his first season of high school wrestling, Stephens advanced all the way to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament.
Stephens, who wrestled at 132 pounds, placed first at the Mother Lode League Tournament and then followed that with a second-place finish at the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championship, while going 3-1 with two pins and a 17-0 technical fall. At masters, Stephens went 3-2.
“He was able to step up and compete with anybody, right from the start,” Bret Harte wrestling coach Damien Stephens said. “At the end of the year, the matches he lost had some tough breaks that would catch him. But he can wrestle with anybody. He had a really good shot at qualifying for state. You can’t intimidate him. It doesn’t matter if, as a freshman, he’s wrestling a senior who has placed in the section before, he’s just unfazed. He just sees it as another challenge. His whole goal in life is to be better than his big brother. Dakota won a league championship as a freshman and his big brother didn’t, so he’s pretty happy about that.”