Clovis News: Sports

Clovis wrestlers pin down big win

This is the one the wrestling junkies will be talking about in coffee shops this morning from Gilroy to Selma to Bakersfield and Santa Ana.

This is the score that will shake the cups: Clovis High 55, Buchanan 7.

"We knew we could shut them out," Cougars 160-pound senior Tyler Ceremello said Wednesday night.

Clovis is top-ranked in the state. But a shutout? In wrestling? Against intradistrict rival Buchanan, the state's No. 7 team? And to think the Cougars nearly pulled it off.

"Our team's pretty solid, and we're dedicated to what we do," said Ceremello, who delivered the swing match, if there is such a thing in 55-7.

The Cougars, leading 9-0, took further command when Ceremello (21-5) scored a 2-point takedown with 3 seconds remaining to stun Matt Negrete 5-4 as the partisan Clovis crowd erupted among a throng of about 1,500.

Ceremello, ranked fourth in the Central Section, had showed confidence in taking down the state's fifth-ranked and 27-3 wrestler by twice letting him escape. But he cut this one pretty close as the public announcer counted down the seconds.

"I could hear that, and it helped pick up the intensity a little bit," he said. "In workouts, we do track sprints, and I think that's what gave it to me; I could go for the last 20 seconds and get the takedown."

There was little drama thereafter as the Cougars -- plowing forward in their mission to increase their state championship-record total to nine -- received pins from Daniel Gaytan (112), Sonny Cervantes (130), Alec Dieter (135), Blake Thompson (152), Tommy Burriel (189) and Max Howard (heavyweight). There were major decisions by Ben Omata (119) and Juan Salas (125).

And then the showdown -- a 1-0 decision by Zach Nevills over Martin Fabbian. Nevills (24-8), a sophomore, is ranked second in the section and third in the state; Fabbian (24-3), a senior, is ranked third and fourth.

"This was a great benchmark for us," said Clovis 12-year coach Steve Tirapelle, who has hung two of the state title banners. "If we keep things going in the right direction and, hopefully, no one gets hurt and sick, we have a shot."