High School Sports

State wrestling: Mejia wins 4th title, section has 7 champs and Buchanan wins team title

The action at Rabobank Arena during the CIF State Wrestling Championships is nonstop during preliminary rounds, as seen in this undated photo.
The action at Rabobank Arena during the CIF State Wrestling Championships is nonstop during preliminary rounds, as seen in this undated photo. Visit Bakersfield

Day 2 of the CIF State Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena.

9:30 p.m.: Clovis’ Justin Mejia won his fourth state title, beating Robert Garcia of Selma 3-2 in the 126-pound final.

Other Central Section champions were Gary Joint of Lemoore (132), Jaden Enriquez of Mission Oak (138), Navonte Demison of Bakersfield (145), Brandon Martino of Clovis (160, over Buchanan’s Joel Romero), Anthony Montalvo of Buchanan (182), Cade Belshay of Buchanan (220) and Seth Nevills of Clovis, who remained unbeaten through his junior year.

Check back soon at www.fresnobee.com/sports for beat writer Nick Giannandrea’s full report. And coming Sunday, a column on Justin Mejia by Marek Warszawski.

2:45 p.m.: After the medal matches and heading into the finals Buchanan High has clinched a second straight team title and third overall. The Bears have an insurmountable lead over second-place Clovis, 205.5-175. Buchanan will send three wrestlers to the finals in Joel Romero (160), Anthony Montalvo (182) and Cade Belshay (195). Clovis also has three finalists in Justin Mejia (126), Brandon Martino (160) and Seth Nevills (285). Poway is third with 138, followed by Selma (108), Gilroy (103), Frontier (85), De La Salle (83), Oakddale (83), Clovis North (78.5), Del Oro (77).

1:20 p.m.: Closing in on the end of the consolation semifinals and nearing the start of the medal matches, Buchanan leads the team race with 197.5 points. Clovis is second with 174, followed by Poway (127), Selma (103), Gilroy (101), Oakdale (83), De La Salle (82), Frontier (82), Clovis North (75.5) and Dinuba (74).

1:05 p.m.: Clovis state No.1 and national No. 2 junior Seth Nevills became the 10th wrestler in state history to reach the final after each of his first three seasons, following a pin in 58 seconds of state No. 4 Gavin Nye of Corning. Nevills will seek to become the 23rd three-time champion in state history when he closes the weekend of wrestling in the 285-pound final against Delhi’s Jesus Flores, who beat Lemoore’s Noah Wright by 13-2 major decision in the other semifinal. Nevills improved to 36-0 on the season, all by pin, and 126-0 in his career. Never has a wrestler in state history been undefeated after his freshman (220-pound champ), sophomore (285-pound champ) and junior (285-pound final) seasons. Only Independence’s Jacob Palomino, Bakersfield’s Darrell Vasquez, Selma’s Alex Cisneros and Clovis teammate Justin Mejia have won state titles after their freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Nevills’ four pins at the state tournament have come in a combined 4:15. Nevills’ will try to equal his older brother and Penn State standout Nick Nevills with his third state title and add a eighth to the family collection, including titles won by AJ and Zach Nevills.

12:45 p.m.: State No. 1 Cade Belshay gives team-leading Buchanan a third state finalist after he pinned Elsinore’s No. 4 Dominik Urena in 1:21 during the 195-pound semifinals. Belshay, who was fifth at 170 last season, has scored bonus points in all four of his matches with three pins and a tech fall. Belshay advances to face Dee La Salle’s No. 2 Darryl Aiello in the final after Aiello pinned Bellarmine’s Victor Jaquez in 1:25 in the other semifinal.

12:40 p.m.: Clovis West state No. 3 sophomore Ryan Reyes was denied a stop in the final, dropping a 1-0 decision to Gilroy’s No. 2 Antonio Andrade in the 195-pound semifinals. Reyes, who was seventh at 170 pounds last season, was looking to join his older brother Nikko Reyes, as a state champ. Andrada advances to face Rancho Bernardo’s top-ranked Chasen Blair, who beat St. John Bosco’s Danny Salas by 11-3 major decision in the other semifinal

12:35 p.m.: Team leading Buchanan, after seeing its first two semifinalists go down, has now had two straight advance to the finals as state No. 1 Anthony Montalvo pinned No. 5 Josh Loomer of Cajon in 1:33. Montalvo was the 182-pound runner-up last season. He will face Oakdale’s No. 2 Colbey Harlan in the final after Harlan beat Bakersfield’s No. 3 Sam Loera 8-1 in the semis.

12:20 p.m.: Selma’s state No. 7 Christian Rodriguez got taken down with 3 seconds left in a match tied 1-1 to drop a 3-1 decision to Oakdale’s Abel Garcia in the 170-pound semifinals. Garcia advances to face No. 1 Anthony Montanona of Palm Desert, who pinned No. 5 Steven Comstock of Northview in 1:14.

12:10 p.m.: It’s third all-Central Section final at 160 pounds, where Buchanan’s No. 1 Joel Romero and Clovis’ No. 2 Brandon Martino will clash for the fifth time this season. Romero pulled away late for a 7-2 victory over Mater Dei’s No. 4 Aaron Olmos, while Martino cruised to n 8-0 major decision over Poway’s No. 6 Hampton Boyd. Romero, who was third at 138 pounds last season, beat Martino 5-4 at Masters and 4-0 at the Mission San Jose Tournament. The Fresno State-bound Martino, who was fifth at 152 last season, beat Romero 3-1 at Yosemite Divisionals and 5-4 at the Tri-River Athletic Conference tourney. At 152, the section had no semifinalists, but Poway’s Quentin Hovis and Santiago’s Joshua Kim reached the final.

11:50 a.m.: A state finals rematch failed to materialize at 145 pounds, when state No. 2 Jacob Wright, a Fresno State commit, losst 3-2 against Granite Bay’s No. 6 Jack Ramalia. Bakersfield’s Navonte Demison, who beat Wright in the 138-pound final last season, reached a third straight final. Demison finished second at 120 as a sophomore and third at 106 as a freshman as he joins the 40 previous four-time medalists entering the state meet.

11:40 a.m.: Mission Oak’s state No. 1 Jaden Enriquez, who missed last season’s state tournament because of an injury, has reached the finals for the second time in his four-year career with a 3-2 victory over Vacavill’s No. 4 Lawrence Saenz at 138 pounds. Enriquez was the state runner-up at 132 as a sophomore and fourth at 132 as a freshman. Enriquez will face Rancho Buena Vista’s state No. 10 Bernie Truax, who downed Bakersfield’s No. 3 JJ Figueroa 3-0 in the semifinals.

11:30 a.m.: It’s an all-Central Section final at 132 pounds, where Lemoore’s state No. 2 Gary Joint will face No. 4 Elijah Ozuna of Frontier. Joint advanced with a 3-0 victory over Gilroy’s No. 3 Alex Felix 3-0. State top-ranked Chris Deloza, who had beaten Joint in the Yosemite Division and Masters finals the past two weeks to take over the state’s top ranking, lost 3-1 in overtime to Ozuna, who entered ranked No. 4. Joint is a two-time Kansas state runner-up in Division 6A/5A, and placed third in California at 126 last season. Ozuna will medal for the first time.

11:25 a.m.: Clovis’ state No. 1 and national No. 3 Justin Mejia became the nine four-time finalist in state meet history with a 7-3 victory over state No. 4 and national No. 18 Jaden Abas of Rancho Bernardo in the 126-pound semifinals. Mejia will conclude his quest to join Bakersfield’s Darrell Vasquez as the only four-time champions in the 45-year history of the state meet when he faces Selma’s Robert Garcia IV in a rematch of the Masters final, won by Mejia, who is now 37-0 on the season and 167-1 in his stellar four-year career, which includes state titles at 106 pounds as a freshman, 113 as a sophomore and 120 as a junior. Mejia, who has committed to Illinois, can go down as the greatest wrestler, statistically speaking, in state history with a win in tonight’s 7:15 p.m. finals. Vasquez was 201-7 in his four-year career. State No. 3 and national No. 19 Garcia advanced to the final with a 3-1 overtime victory over rival state No. 2 and national No. 9 Isaiah Perez of Dinuba, which evens their season series 2-2. The Fresno State-bound Garcia is a four-time medalist, having placed second at 113as a freshman, sixth at 120 as a sophomore and third at 120 as a junior.

11:10 a.m.: It’s back-to-back upset losses for reigning state champions for Buchanan. State No. 1 and national No. 15 Ethan Leake, who won the 113-pound state title last season, dropped a 7-5 decision to Bishop Amat’s state No. 4 Sidney Flores in the 120-pound semis. Leake closed to with in 6-5 late in the third period, then led Flores out to attempt another shot, but couldn’t secure it before the buzzer. On the other side of the bracket, Tempcula Chapel’s Cleveland Beltran beat Cavalry Chapel’s Luciano Arroyo 11-5.

10:50 a.m.: Buchanan’s state No. 1 and national No. 2 Matthew Olguin, the reigning state champ at 106 pounds, was upset by Gilroy’s state No. 4 and national No. 15 Nicholas Aguilar, 1-0, in the 113-pound semifinals. Aguilar rode out Olguin in the second period, got an escape in the third and staved off Olguin’s take-down attempts over the final 132 to reach the final against St. John Bosco’s state No. 2 Jesse Vasquez, who pinned No. 2 Devin Murphy in 2:00.

10:45 a.m.: The Central Section’s only semifinalist at 106 pounds, Frontier’s Cole Reyes, was beaten 2-1 by Northview’s Eddie Flores. Flores will face Downy’s Jonathann Prate in the finals, which start at 7:15 p.m., after Prate beat Del Oro’s Antonio Lorenzo 4-2.

10:35 a.m.: The championship semifinals have begun. The 24 Central Section wrestlers in the semis are Frontier’s Cole Reyes (106), Buchanan’s Matthew Olguin (113), Clovis North’s Devin Murphy (113), Buchanan’s Ethan Leake (126), Clovis’ Justin Mejia (126), Selma’s Robert Garcia IV (126), Dinuba’s Isaiah Perez (126), Clovis North’s Chris Deloza (132), Frontier’s Elijah Ozuna (132), Lemoore’s Gary Joint (132), Misssion Oak’s Jaden Enriquez (138), Bakersfield’s JJ Figueroa (138), Bakersfield’s Navonte Demison (145), Dinuba’s Jacob Wright (145), Buchanan’s Joel Romero (160), Clovis’ Brandon Martino (160, Selma’s Christian Rodriguez (170), Buchanan’s Anthony Montalvo (182), Bakersfield’s Sam Loera )182), Clovis West’s Ryan Reyes (195), Buchanan’s Cade Belshay (220), Clovis’ Seth Nevills (285) and Lemoore’s Noah Wright (285).

10:15 a.m.: Welcome back to Day 2 coverage. The day began with 24 Central Section wrestlers in the semifinals and 49 still alive in the consolation bracket. I’ll update as best I can throughout the day. There is some good news to report, at least for tournament-leading Buchanan High, which will have Brett Villarreal available in the 138-pound consolation bracket. Villarreal, who entered the state meet ranked No. 2 in the state got knocked out in a semifinal match against Rancho Buena Vista’s Bernie Truax and taken away on a stretcher Friday.

Nick Giannandrea: 559-441-6103, @NickG_FB