The Bee's Winter All-Stars: Boys Wrestling Outstanding Lower Weight

The Fresno BeeApril 11, 2014 

Clovis West High wrestler Michael Knoblauch.

CONTRIBUTED

OUTSTANDING LOWER WEIGHT: MICHAEL KNOBLAUCH

• School: Clovis West

• Grade/weight class: Senior/126

• Takedown: Traveled as demanding a path as anyone in the 560-wrestler, 14-weight class CIF State Champion- ships as he went through four opponents ranked in the top 11 in California, including two reigning state champions, on his way to the 126-pound title. The No. 2-ranked Knoblauch beat No. 1 and reigning 120-pound champion Mason Pengilly of Porterville 8-6 in the final after downing defending division champ Jonny Parada of San Fernando 8-5 in the semifinals. Knoblauch's 6-0 run through the state tournament also included conquests of No. 11 Kristian Vasquez of Martin Luther King-Riverside and No. 9 Josh Villaflor of Franklin-Elk Grove.

• Familiar foe: Knoblauch and Pengilly have been rivals dating back to middle school, but this was the first season during their respective four-year high school careers that they ended up in the season weight class during the postseason. Pengilly won their first two meetings this season -- 3-2 in the final at the Doc Buchanan and then an 11-4 rout in the final of the Yosemite Divisional. But Knoblauch edged Pengilly 4-3 in the Masters final for a much needed boost of confidence heading into the state meet. "It's inches between us winning and Mason winning," Clovis West coach Ian Shaw said. "They are so similar in how they compete and wrestle."

• The golden road: Knoblauch captured Clovis West Shootout, Sierra Nevada Classic, Tim Brown Memorial, Tri-River Athletic Conference and Masters tournament titles and was second at the Doc Buchanan, Eastern States and divisional during a 44-4, 22-pin season.

• Looking back: Knoblauch, weighing college options including Grand Canyon, Cal Baptist and national JC power Clackamas-Oregon, was a four-time state qualifier. He placed third at 126 as a junior, went 2-2 at 126 as a sophomore and was 1-2 at 112 as a freshman.

• He said it: "Michael's abilities on the mat to change things in a second are the best I've ever seen. He can go from 0 to 100 in a flash. In the blink of an eye, he's in on your legs and then has you on your back. He can hit a move and you're like 'What just happened?' " -- Shaw.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6103, nickg@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6103.

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