BAKERSFIELD -- When the goal is gold, settling for bronze is difficult to accept.
At least it was for Clovis West High's Michael Knoblauch and Kingsburg's Javier Gasca on Saturday at the CIF State Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena.
Both were No. 2-ranked -- Knoblauch at 126 pounds and Gasca at 132.
But Knoblauch lost 11-5 to Paradise's Wyatt Wyckoff in the semifinals, and Gasca lost a 3-1 decision to Gilroy's Paul Fox.
Knoblauch bounced back to beat Bella Vista-Fair Oaks' Victor Trujillo 11-4 in the consolation semifinals, then pinned Santiago-Corona's Justin Thomas in 4:23 for third.
"It was devastating. I wouldn't have wrestled anymore if I could," Knoblauch said. "But my coaches pushed me. I had to suck it up for the team."
For Gasca, it was his second straight semifinal setback.
Then-second-ranked Gasca got pinned by eventual champion Nikko Villarreal just 8 seconds from a victory in a 132-pound semifinal last year.
Gasca responded this year by pinning Liberty-Brentwood's Austin Solari in 1:47 in the consolation semis and beating El Camino Real-Woodland Hills' Ali Naser 5-0 for third.
"My heart was broken. It felt like someone dumped me," said Gasca, a senior. "But third is better than fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth."
Gasca and Knoblauch, still only a junior, were among the Central Section's 29 medalists.
Washington, led by Gabriel Gonzalez's fifth-place finish at 195 pounds, emerged as the state Small Schools champion. The Panthers finished with 30 points, two more than runner-up Calvary Chapel-Santa Ana, a private school and seven-time state overall champion.
The title is for school's with enrollments of less than 1,000 students.
Gonzalez scored 21 of the Panthers' points by getting a decision and five pins, including a fall in 1:35 over James Logan's Clayton Hartwell for fifth.
Clovis' Jonas Gaytan (120), Porterville's Martin Sandoval (138) and Clovis East's Kyle Perreault (152) also earned bronze medals.
Perreault defeated Bakersfield's Coleman Hammond a third straight week.
Buchanan's Durbin Lloren became the school's first freshman state placer when he beat Windsor's Perez Perez 3-2 for fifth.
It helped Buchanan finish with 70.5 points, tied with Lemoore for eighth place. The Bears were projected to finish 13th by thecaliforniawrestler.com after placing 63rd with 13 points last year.
"I wanted to win the bracket, but fifth will do," said Lloren, one of Buchanan's eight freshman or sophomore state qualifiers. "I get my name up on the board (in Buchanan's wrestling room). It will be there forever, and that's nice."
Central Section medalists
106: 1. Adrian Camposano, Central; 5. Durbin Lloren, Buchanan
113: 2. Sean Williams, Lemoore; 4. Khristian Olivas, Clovis; 6. Isaiah Hokit, Wasco
120: 1. Mason Pengilly, Porterville; 3. Jonas Gaytan, Clovis; 6. Daniel Ruiz, Madera; 8. Arnulfo Olea, Exeter
126: 3. Michael Knoblauch, Clovis West; 7. Vincent Gomez, Frontier
132: 3. Javier Gasca, Kingsburg; 7. Abel Contreras, Porterville
138: 3. Martin Sandoval, Porterville; 7. Chris Garcia, Clovis West
145: 5. Jason Ladd, Clovis; 8. A.J. Fierro, Bakersfield
152: 3. Kyle Perreault, Clovis East; 4. Coleman Hammond, Bakersfield
160: 1. Isaiah Martinez, Lemoore; 5. Hunter Hodges, Bakersfield
170: 4. Bryce Martin, Bakersfield; 6. Alec Gamboa, Madera
182: 1. Adrian Salas, Clovis
195: 5. Gabriel Gonzalez, Washington
220: 2. Sean Medley, Wasco; 7. Cortes Morales, Clovis West; 8. Auggie Alcantar, Frontier
285: 1. Nick Nevills, Clovis
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