There is a new King of Clovis Unified wrestling.
And now the attention turns to whether there will be a new King of California in 37 days.
An overflow crowd estimated at 2,500 packed into Clovis High’s gym to witness California No. 1 and national No. 5 Buchanan beat its state second-ranked and national No. 8 district rival 32-27 in a Tri-River Athletic Conference match Thursday night, the Bears’ first dual victory over the Cougars in eight seasons.
Buchanan also brought an end to the five-time reigning state champion’s streak of 91 consecutive dual wins against California opposition that stretched to Jan. 24, 2007, when the Bears beat the Cougars 42-13.
Never miss a local story.
“I’m very happy to get it done and finally end their streak,” said Buchanan senior DJ Lloren, who scored four points for the Bears with a 12-3 major decision over Dylan Martinez at 138 pounds. “It feels really good. I knew we always had the potential, so it’s nice to finally seal the deal.
“This is one of our goals, beat Clovis in a dual and then beat them at the state tournament. One of them is done; now we have to do the next one.”
This is one of our goals, beat Clovis in a dual and then beat them at the state tournament. One of them is done, now we have to do the next one.
Buchanan 136-pounder DJ Lloren on the Bears’ 32-27 dual-meet victory over rival and five-time reigning state champion Clovis
Buchanan has finished ahead of Clovis at two tournaments this season (the Zinkin Classic and Doc Buchanan Invitational). The start of the postseason looms Feb. 13 with the TRAC championships. The Yosemite Divisionals are Feb. 19-20, followed by the Central Section Masters on Feb. 27 and the CIF State Championships on March 4-5.
The Bears’ only state championship came in 2006.
“I’ve been telling the team since Zinkin, beating Clovis is a double-edged sword,” Bears coach Troy Tirapelle said. “Every time we beat them, it awakens the beast. They are going to get better, and if we don’t, too, we’re going to get second. This was a goal, but not the ultimate goal. It’s only a step in the process. Hopefully we stay strong mentally.”
Freshman Matt Olguin provided the match-clinching points with his 7-5 decision over Brandon Betancourt at 106 pounds. Betancourt led 2-0 early in the first period before Olguin stormed to a 6-2 lead in the second. Betancourt cut the gap to 6-5 with a late takedown, but Olguin got an immediate escape and held on over the final 15 seconds to give the Bears an insurmountable 32-24 lead with one match left.
“I knew I had to get the win for my team,” Olguin said. “I wasn’t going to let him come back on me. I wanted it so bad.”
Zak Levatino scored a momentum-swinging win for Buchanan when he rallied to beat Tyler Collier 5-4 at 220 pounds. Collier led 4-3 early in the third period before a Levatino takedown with a minute left provided the winning points.
“We put in a lot of work and it was our time,” Levatino said. “It means a lot. I’ve wanted to end their streak for three years now, and to do it as a senior is awesome.”
Buchanan won eight of the 14 matches, getting bonus points from Lloren, Joel Romero (a last-second 16-1 tech fall over Jordan Geiger at 132), Greg Gaxiola (a 22-7 tech fall over Jake Ladd at 145) and Abner Romber (a pin of Victor Vargas in 3:40 at 160). The Bears also received decisions from Olguin, Levatino, Brett Villarreal (126) and Cade Belshay (170).
“We knew we had more depth in our lineup. We should have won more matches, which we did,” Lloren said. “Bonus points were a huge factor. Our guys who needed to bonus, got bonus. They did their job.”
Clovis opened the scoring with a pin in 1:55 by two-time state champion Justin Mejia at 120 over Chris Gaxiola, but was trailing 17-6 by the time it got its next points, a pin in 3:40 by Brandon Martino over Jake Levatino.
The Cougars’ only other bonus points came from Seth Nevills, who pinned Isaiah Ortiz in 1:02 at 285 pounds. Clovis’ other wins were decisions by Josh Hokit (182), AJ Nevills (195) and Wyatt Cornelison (112).
They just outwrestled us. We broke mentally in a lot of matches.
Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle, who saw his team’s streak of 91 consecutive wins over California opposition end with the loss to rival Buchanan
“They just outwrestled us,” Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle said. “We broke mentally in a lot of matches. We’ve got to have a better mental strategy. But we’ll work on it and get better.”
Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko was among those on hand to watch a dual that was webcast via Texas-based sports media and events company flowrestling.com. Clovis administrators said they stopped selling tickets roughly 15 minutes before the start of the match once the gym reached capacity.
TRI-RIVER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
BUCHANAN 32, CLOVIS 27
- 106: Matt Olguin, B, d. Brandon Betancourt, 7-5
- 112: Wyatt Cornelison, C, d. Ethan Leake, 6-2
- 120: Justin Mejia, C, p. Chris Gaxiola, 1:55
- 126: Brett Villarreal, B, d. Brandon Rhoads, 10-8
- 132: Joel Romero, B, tech fall Jordan Geiger, 16-1
- 138: DJ Lloren, B, maj. d. Dylan Martinez, 12-3
- 145: Greg Gaxiola, B, tech fall Jake Ladd, 22-7
- 152: Brandon Martino, C, p. Jake Levatino, 3:40
- 160: Abner Romber, B, p. Victor Vargas, 4:35
- 170: Cade Belshay, B, d. Ruger Wyneken, 11-6
- 182: Josh Hokit, C, d. Anthony Montalvo, 7-2
- 195: AJ Nevills, C, d. Trevor Ervin 8-5
- 220: Zak Levatino, B, d. Tyler Collier, 5-4
- 285: Seth Nevills, C, p. Isaiah Ortiz, 1:02