Once again, state wrestling is abuzz about Clovis High and Selma's Alex Cisneros.
Any news is big coming out of the Doc Buchanan Invitational -- the state's premier regular-season tournament -- and it was in the Clovis gym Saturday night that the Cougars made their latest statement with a runaway team title while Cisneros added to an increasingly dramatic career.
Clovis has won a record eight of the state's 38 team championships. And the Cougars left no doubt they could be in line for No. 9 by receiving titles from cousins Jonas (112 pounds) and Daniel (119) Gaytan, and fabulous freshman Nicholas Nevills (285), and seconds from Juan Salas (130), Zachary Nevills (171) and Dakota Gordon (189) en route to 220 points.
On a night Clovis clinched its 13th Doc Buchanan team crown before the finals began, Oakdale (1421/2), Selma (102), Lemoore (971/2) and Gilroy (96) ran a distant second through fifth.
Conspicuously absent among the leaders was Bakersfield, but there's an explanation.
The defending state champion arrived without returning state medalists in Timmy Box (140) and Coleman Hammond (145) because of injuries, and then had returning state gold medalist Bryce Hammond (160) check out in the quarterfinals here with yet another injury.
This wasn't lost on Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle: "Bakersfield is the team to beat [at state]. But this showed we're for real and I feel really good about it. Today, we were pretty good, but you've got to be pretty good on two days and those two days are in March [at state]."
So deep are the Cougars they medaled twice in two weight divisions with Adrian Salas (fourth) and Blake Thompson (fifth) at 160 and Ryan Davies (third) joining Gordon on the stand at 189. They also had Taylor Ferguson place fourth at 215.
Cisneros, meanwhile, remained unbeaten against state competition for three years -- barely.
Following a 3-2 double overtime win in the quarterfinals and a 1-0 decision in the semis, the Bears' junior (19-1) closed the night in electrifying fashion by escaping with a 4-3 win over Turlock's Fabian Garcia (18-2) in double overtime in a showdown of the state's Nos. 1-2 ranked wrestlers at 125.
Cisneros, a two-time state champion, is 120-2 in his career, and the pressure of never losing to a California opponent is obviously mounting.
"I really try not to worry about it," he said after a brawl that left his face cut and bloodied. "I just worry about the next opponent and what I have to do to come out with a 'W.' "
Another double-OT final had Clovis heavyweight Nicholas Nevills beat Lemoore senior Steven Wood 5-2.
In Nevills, Wood was opposing a 25-2 wrestler whose only losses (6-5 and 2-1) came to the nation's top-ranked heavyweight, Blair Academy of New Jersey's Brooks Black, in last week's nationally prestigious Cheesehead Invitational at Kaukauna, Wis.
Wood (16-3), a senior with a 40-pound weight advantage, scored a second-period takedown for a 2-0 lead before Nevills tied it in regulation with two escapes.
Nevills then reversed Wood in the final second of the second OT's first session before escaping in the second session for a 5-2 win that left the freshman with both fists pumping.
Nevills hardly seemed overwhelmed by his success at such a young age, pointing to the coaching of the Tirapelles -- Steve and son Adam.
"I've been in the room working with them since fifth grade," Nevills said. "I give them all the credit for my success."
As would his older brother Zachary Nevills, but the junior lost 5-3 to Clovis West's Nikko Reyes in the feature duel of the finals.
Zachary Nevills entered 22-0, No. 1 in the state and No. 6 in the nation. Reyes arrived 23-0 and No. 2 in the state, and it was his escape and takedown in the third period that broke a 2-2 tie.
A Tulare-Kings counties special saw the state's top-ranked Isaiah Martinez of Lemoore improve to 19-0 with a 12-5 decision over Porterville's No. 3 Shane Yacuta at 140 pounds.
103: Emilio Saavedra, Pitman, d. Johnson Mai, North Torrance, 3-1; 112: Jonas Gaytan, Clovis, d. Garrett Fortado, Oakdale, 5-2; 119: Daniel Gayton, Clovis, p. Stevan Knoblauch, Clovis West, 3:52; 125: Alex Cisneros, Selma, d. Fabian Garcia, Turlock, 4-3 (2 OT); 135: Chris Mecate, Redlands East Valley, d. Natrelle Demison, Bakersfield, 6-4 (OT); 140: Isaiah Martinez, Lemoore, d. Shane Yacuta, Porterville, 12-5; 145: Michael Gonzalez, Sultana, d. David Meza, Buena Park, 9-5; 152: Napoleon Aniciete, Las Vegas, d. Victor Pereira, Newark Memorial, 5-3; 160: Vincent Waldhauser, Oak Ridge, d. Dylin Rodriguez, Sanger, 9-2; 171: Nikko Reyes, Clovis West, d. Zachary Nevills, Clovis 5-3; 189: Luke Sheridan, De La Salle, d. Dakota Gordon, Clovis, 4-3; 215: A.C. Brown, Oakdale, d. Jeff Vargas, South Hills, 3-1; 285: Nicholas Nevills, Clovis, d. Steven Wood, Lemoore, 5-2 (2 OT).
Most outstanding lower-weight wrestler: Cisneros, Selma.
Most outstanding upper-weight wrestler: Reyes, Clovis West.
Outstanding wrestler: Martinez, Lemoore