The message hit home for Buchanan High senior wrestling standout Durbin Lloren last season.
To accomplish his goals of becoming a state champion and a Division I college recruit, simply winning wasn’t going to be good enough.
Lloren, a state medalist as a freshman and a sophomore, needed to be better, more dominant.
“To know I’m ready for the next level, I should be past the people in high school,” Lloren said. “If I want to go Division I, I have to rack up the points and really beat people, keep constantly scoring, don’t relax.”
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And that’s exactly what the Utah Valley University-bound Lloren, who will be among the marquee attractions at this weekend’s Zinkin Classic, did en route to becoming the CIF State champion at 120 pounds last season.
Always strong on his feet, Lloren worked tirelessly last season to improve his skills from the top and bottom positions, knowing that scoring and taking control from those spots would be crucial to his hopes of landing a D-I scholarship offer.
Lloren displayed his improved tenacity while winning titles in nine of the 10 tournaments he entered, scoring bonus points in 30 of his 48 tournament matches, including 22 pins. Two of those pins came at the state tournament, part of a 5-0 run that saw him beat Bakersfield’s Navonte Demison 7-0 to become the seventh CIF champion in Buchanan history.
He really bought into the psychology of what we’re trying to do. To not only beat people, but beat them bad. Earn those bonus points. That’s when he took off.
Buchanan coach Troy Tirapelle on Durbin Lloren, who blossomed into the state champ at 120 pounds last season after fifth-place finishes at 106 and 113 as a freshman and sophomore
“He started seeing the bigger picture,” Bears coach Troy Tirapelle said. “He really bought into the psychology of what we’re trying to do. To not only beat people, but beat them bad. Earn those bonus points. That’s when he took off.
“He was doing just enough to win before. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can come back to bite you sometimes. Now, he wants to be the best and leave no question. He wants to raise the bar between him and the person below him.”
Colleges took notice of Lloren’s development. He was recruited by Cal Poly, Old Dominion and Arizona State, but it was Utah Valley and coach Greg Williams who ended up winning over Lloren.
The Wolverines, members of the Big 12 Conference, also feature a trio of former Fresno-area stars in Khristian Olivas (Clovis), Matt Ontiveros (Central) and Richie Ybarra-Brandt (Liberty-Madera Ranchos).
“At first, I really didn’t think I’d like Utah Valley as much as I did. But I went out there and fell in love with the coaches and the area. That really sealed the deal for me,” Lloren said. “I thought to myself, ‘I’ve invested too much time in wrestling to not reach my full potential.’ The best you can do in wrestling is be an All-American and a national champion, and I feel Utah Valley is where I can best accomplish those things.”
Lloren, state top-ranked at 132 pounds, is one of nine state No. 1’s entered in the Zinkin Classic field, which will feature wrestlers from 54 schools Friday and Saturday at Buchanan. Action starts at 11 a.m. Friday and resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday, with the finals set for 4 p.m.
Other No. 1’s in the field include Gilroy’s Nico Aguilar (106), Mission Oak’s David Campbell (113), Palm Desert’s Anthony Mantanona (170), Bullard’s Bevan Brandt (220) and Clovis’ Justin Mejia (120), Josh Hokit (182), AJ Nevills (195) and Seth Nevills (285).
Campbell is wrestling 120s this weekend, setting the stage for a potential meeting with two-time state champion Mejia, who edged Campbell 1-0 in the 113-pound state final last season.
Also wrestling a weight class above their ranking will be Hokit and AJ Nevills. Hokit could face state Nos. 4 or 5 in Buchanan’s Trevor Ervin or Gilroy’s Noe Garcia at 195. Nevills could end up in a showdown with Brandt at 220.
“Not every team will have everyone at their perfect weight,” Tirapelle said. “But it should be some pretty high-level competition.”
- This weekend: Wrestling begins at 11 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday, with the finals set for 4 p.m.
- Site: Buchanan High