Nick Sierra is a state-ranked wrestler at 145 pounds, a division he likely won't compete in this season.
The Lemoore High senior placed sixth at the state meet at 140 pounds last season after suffering a knee injury during the semifinals that would require offseason surgery. Because of his past success and the logical assumption of a little weight gain after his junior season, the first state rankings by thecaliforniawrestler.com had Sierra ranked fifth at 145 pounds.
Recovery from the surgery forced Sierra to open the season a little later than most wrestlers and at a heavier weight class, with his first action coming just before Christmas while winning the 160-pound division at the DeLiddo Tournament.
Confident that his knee is healthy and with his conditioning going well, Sierra dropped to 152 for last weekend's Doc Buchanan Invitational, where he picked up a pin, two technical falls, a decision and a 14-4 major decision against Temecula Valley's Marco Decaro in the final.
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"One-fifty-twos might be my spot," said Sierra, who has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. "That's where my college coach wants me. I'm in good shape, the best I've ever felt."
Another Central Section wrestling standout trying to focus in on a weight division is Madera senior James Cook, a two-time state medalist at 152 who was fourth in the state last season at 160.
Cook is currently ranked fifth at 171 pounds, and he's likely to climb from there after a 7-6 win over No. 4 Dominic Kastl of Gilroy in the semifinals of the Doc B, a tournament Cook went on to win with a pin in 1:40 over Clovis' Zach Nevills.
Slowed by a torn ligament in his ankle as a sophomore and by a broken foot last season, Cook earned the award for most falls at the Doc B (four in 4:20).
Now Cook is considering a drop to 160 again, where he feels he can be more effective than last season because he will be able to train and condition properly.
"I'm able to run and practice again. I can go more at a fast pace," Cook said. "My weight is low, so I can make 160s. So I might try that and see what I can do."
Tough tourney awaits wrestlers
Wrestlers from 11 section schools are headed to Southern California this weekend to compete in one of the state's toughest regular season tournaments -- the Five Counties Invitational at Fountain Valley High.
Six of the section's top eight teams -- Clovis, Bakersfield, Selma, Clovis West, Clovis East and Lemoore -- are in the field.
Wrestling starts at 11 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday, with the finals set for 7:15 p.m.
Selma's Alex Cisneros is one of four defending champions expected to be in the field. Cisneros, who won at 103 last year but is wrestling at 112 now, should be joined by Gilroy's Jesse Delgado (119 last year, 125 now), Calvary Chapel-Santa Ana's Morgan McIntosh (171 last year, 189 now) and Saint Francis-Mountain View's Drew Meulman (215 last year, 285 now).
Clovis, coming off its victory at the Doc Buchanan last weekend, should be one of the team favorites.