Clovis High's fourth straight title in the Doc Buchanan Invitational -- one of the nation's most prestigious high school wrestling tournaments -- in its packed gym Saturday night came with extra glitter, a home run with the game on the line by Nick Nevills and a break.
The bonus sparkles? Among 100 teams from five states, the Cougars defeated by two points nationally No. 2-ranked Wyoming Seminary, a prep school from Kingston, Pa., with a major college wrestling budget, a roster representing nine states, Washington, D.C., and Lithuania, three members headed to the Ivy League and -- are you sitting? -- a $45,000 annual tuition per student.
The Nevills pop? A 4-0 win over Wyoming Seminary's Michael Johnson in a heavyweight duel matching nationally ranked wrestlers, and one that began with nation No. 9 Clovis trailing the Blue Knights 178-176.
The break? The Cougars were gifted six points -- as good as a pin -- at 182 pounds before the finals even began when Adrian Salas won by default over Wyoming Seminary's nation top-ranked Eric Morris. The Harvard-bound 27-0 senior suffered a concussion, yet finished, in a 1-0 semifinal win over Granada Hills' Sohrab Movahedi on Saturday morning.
"Unfortunately, it cost us the tournament," Blue Knights coach Scott Green said. "But you've got to put the kids' health first. This many miles (2,800) from home, you don't want to make a bad decision just for the sake of winning the team title."
Wyoming Seminary was the first Eastern import in the 35-year history of a tournament that this time drew 465 wrestlers, including 41 ranked nationally and more than 250 in the top 40 in California.
"We had a vision to develop a tournament with California's elite while also bringing in other teams, too, and it materialized," said Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle, whose son, Adam, is part of his staff. "It took a few years, but it's unbelievable the competition from Round 1. It's turned into a very positive thing."
Also remaining positive is the Clovis program, the capital of state wrestling. The Cougars have won two straight state titles and 10 overall in the event's 30-year history.
"How can I not be pleased?" Steve Tirapelle said. "We wrestled against one of the best teams (Wyoming Seminary) in the country. Of course, we put (the title) in the hands of Nick Nevills. He's the best kid on our team, and if we can't win with him, we don't deserve it."
Green, whose team also has traveled to tournaments this season in New Jersey, Ohio and Delaware, applauded the Doc Buchanan Invite: "We really enjoyed coming out here and having the opportunity to wrestle other guys and get different looks. The Tirapelles are a class act."
The tournament's top awards went to Lemoore's Isaiah Martinez (160) as the most outstanding overall wrestler, St. John Bosco-Bellflower's Aaron Pico (132) as the most outstanding lower weight and Nevills as the most outstanding upper weight.
Martinez (30-1), a two-time state champion (145, 152) headed for Illinois, delivered four tournament pins before crushing Folsom's Nick Fiegener 16-1 for a technical fall with 1:39 remaining. Fiegener was 24-1 coming in.
"I'm happy," Martinez said, "but I don't believe I'm anywhere near as good as I can be. I can get a lot better on positioning, timing and overall setups."
Nevills (20-0), first in the state as a freshman before placing third at that level last year when he was upset in the semis, reversed Johnson in the second period and again in the third with 30 seconds to go.
"I took a little stumble in last year's state tournament and I got my confidence shaken a little bit," he said. "But I've come back strong and I think I'm finally getting back to my roots where I was as a freshman. Plus, I'm a lot stronger, so I can do more."
City of Porterville splash
Monache junior Matt Gamble, a year after going 1-2 in the state, revised his postseason goals after winning 19-12 over state No. 2-ranked and previously unbeaten Adrian Campasano of Central at 106.
"Well, seeing he's ranked second in the state, hopefully, I'll be the champion," said Gamble, a junior who improved to 13-2. "I was on the small side for a (106-pounder) last year. I've gotten bigger and I try to keep my head in the match instead of getting distracted."
Porterville High's Mason Pengilly (20-0) also raised that community banner high by defeating Live Oak-Morgan Hill's nation No. 13 and defending state champion Isaiah Locsin 5-3 in overtime.
-- The night closed with nation No. 1 Pico defeating nation No. 14 Javier Gasca III of Kingsburg 10-4.
-- Salas, the Tri-River Athletic Conference's Player of the Year for league champion Clovis in football, defeated Bakersfield's Kyle Pope 7-2 in the 182-pound semis. Pope arrived top-ranked in the state after placing second in the state last year.
Fresno, Kings and Tulare county wrestlers who won Doc Buchanan titles Saturday:
106: Matt Gamble, Monache
120: Mason Pengilly, Porterville
160: Isaiah Martinez, Lemoore
182: Adrian Salas, Clovis
285: Nick Nevills, Clovis