For the fifth time this season, Buchanan High finished ahead of defending CIF State wrestling champion Clovis at a tournament or dual, ending the Cougars’ six-year hold on the Yosemite Divisionals.
But the gap is narrowing heading into the season’s final two weekends.
Buchanan produced a tournament-best six champions out of its 10 finalists while outscoring Clovis 357.5-342 for the team title Saturday at the Cougars’ gym. It was the second consecutive week the Bears’ margin of victory was 15.5 points or less after topping the Cougars 272-260.5 on Feb. 13 at the Tri-River Athletic Conference finals.
“We’ve beat them at every tournament, but it gets harder and harder,” said Buchanan’s state third-ranked Cade Belshay, who scored the clinching points with a 10-0 major decision over Clovis West’s No. 10 Ryan Reyes in the 170-pound final for the Bears’ first championship at this tournament since 2009.
Clovis, the five-time defending state champion, actually pulled into the lead at 338-337.5 through eight of the 14 finals. It was the Cougars only lead during the two-day tournament that qualifies its top eight finishers for the Central Section Masters meet on Feb. 27.
But reigning state 120-pound champion Durbin Lloren put Buchanan back on top with a pin of Redwood’s Aaron Watts in 1:44 during the 132-pound final. Loren, who scored four pins and a technical fall in his five Yosemite Divisional matches, is looking to win a second title and fourth medal at the state meet, which is set for March 4-5 at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena.
“I hope to carry that into Masters and state and win another state title,” the state top-ranked Lloren said. “I’m feeling my best when I need to feel my best. I’m peaking.”
Wrestling concurrently to Lloren, Belshay scored quickly in the first period on Reyes and cruised to the win that put the team score out of reach for the Bears.
“(Assistant coach Gabe) Flores told me that I’ve got to put it on (Reyes) and keep the ball rolling,” Belshay said. “I tried to take him down in the first 15 seconds, and didn’t let him get into the match.”
Buchanan also had champions in Matthew Olguin (106 pounds), Greg Gaxiola (145), Abner Romero (160) and Zak Levatino, who scored an important swing-match win with a 5-2 defeat of Clovis’ Tyler Collier at 220 pounds. State No. 2 Olguin beat Clovis North’s No. 3 Eric Rivera 4-0, No. 3 Gaxiola topped Redwood’s No. 7 Isaiah Torres 9-2 and No. 3 Romero scored a 14-3 major decision over Bakersfield’s No. 9 Sam Loera.
“To take the title is great,” Romero said. “And it’s 10 times more fun when you win with the team. This is only going to give us more momentum going to Masters and state. We’ve just got to keep taking care of business.”
The Bears, who captured their only state title in 2006, had runners-up in Ethan Leake (113), Joel Romero (138), Anthony Montalvo (182) and Trevor Ervin (195) while advancing 13 wrestlers to Masters. Clovis, which has won eight consecutive Masters titles, will have its full complement of 14, including division champions Justin Mejia (120), Brandon Martino (152), Josh Hokit (182), AJ Nevills (195) and Seth Nevills (285).
“(Clovis) knows what to do,” Buchanan assistant Flores said. “We tell our kids they they are not going to give up. They are going to come hard every weekend.”
Top-ranked Mejia, seeking to join a club of 22 previous three-time state champions, scored a 14-4 major decision over Frontier’s No. 9 Jaden Abas in the finals. Mejia, a junior, won state titles at 106 as a freshman and 113 as a sophomore.
“I feel comfortable right now,” Mejia said. “I dominated in most of my matches this tournament. I’m just going to keep working hard, sharpen some things up and be ready to go.”
No. 1 Seth Nevills, the reigning 220-pound state champ, did his part for the Cougars, pinning his way through five tournament matches, including a fall in 3:23 against Frontier’s Jarrod Snyder during the final of a matchup of the state’s Nos. 1-2 285-pounders. In other finals, Seth’s older brother AJ Nevills, state top-ranked, beat No. 4 Ervin by 14-4 major decision; No. 1 Hokit earned a 12-4 major over No. 3 Montalvo; and No. 3 Martino edged Clovis West’s No. 8 Chris Lane 3-1.
Clovis has a runner-up in Collier, third-place finishers in Brandon Betancourt (106), Wyatt Cornelison (113), Jordan Geiger (132), Jake Ladd (145) and Ruger Wyneken (170), and no one who finished lower than seventh.
“They are not going to roll over,” Cougars coach Steve Tirapelle said. “There is a lot of pride in the program, in who they are and what’s been accomplished over the years.”
Also capturing divisional titles were Clovis West’s Javier Alaniz (113), Lemoore’s Gary Joint (126) and Bakersfield’s Navonte Demison (140).
State sixth-ranked Alaniz overcame a 3-2 deficit to pin No. 4 Leake of Buchanan in 5:44 during the finals, while No. 7 Joint made an improbable run to the title by pinning No. 1 David Campbell of Mission Oak in 5:03 in the semifinals and No. 3 Chris Deloza of Clovis North in 5:13 during the final.
Sierra/Sequoia Divisional – Selma crowned eight individual champions while capturing the team title at the Masters qualifier for schools from the Sierra and Sequoia divisions in Shafter.
Josh Cisneros (106), Robert Areyano (113), Robert Garcia (120), Tony Mendoza (132), Ruben Garcia (145), Jonathan Ramos (152), Christian Rodriguez (170) and Rogi Alvarez (285) won titles for the Bears, who had 12 of their 14 wrestlers finish in the top four to advance to Masters.
Second-place Dinuba was led by 138-pound champion Jacob Wright. Dawson Boland (160) and Jacob Good (182) won titles for third-place Exeter, while fourth-place Corcoran had a champ in Aaron Panduro (126).
Also winning titles were Kingsburg’s Ty Muxlow (195) and Kennedy’s Ramiro Macias (220).
Team scores: 1, Buchanan 357.5, 2, Clovis 342, 3, Clovis North 192.5, 4, Bakersfield 180.5, 5, Frontier 154, 6, Clovis West 141.5, 7, Madera 113, 8, Central 112.5, 9, Redwood 105, 10, Madera South 91, 11. Liberty-Bakersfield 87.5, 12. Lemoore 84.5, 13, Foothill 82, 14, Bullard 79.5, 15, Independence 78, 16, Clovis East 73, 17, Golden Valley 67.5, 18, Hanford 66, 19, Portervillle 57, 19, South 57, 21, El Diamante 54, 22, Sunnyside 51, 23, Sanger 49.5, 24, Delano 47, 24, Mt. Whitney 47, 26, Monache 40.5, 27, Mission Oak 39.5, 28, Reedley 37, 29, Centennial 35, 29, Stockdale 35, 31, East Bakersfield 27, 31, Hoover 27, 31, Ridgeview 27, 34, Highland 26, 34, North 26, 36, Tulare 24, 37, McLane 16.5, 38, Edison 16, 38, Hanford West 16, 40, Tulare Western 15, 41, West 12, 42, Fresno 11, 43, Tehachaip 8, 44, Golden West 4, 44, Roosevelt 4, 46, Mira Monte 3
103: Matthew Olguin, Buchanan, d. Eric Rivera, Clovis North, 4-0
113: Javier Alaniz, Clovis West, p. Ethan Leake, Buchanan, 5:44
120: Justin Mejia, Clovis, maj. d. Jaden Abas, Frontier, 14-4
126: Gary Joint, Lemoore, p. Chris Deloza, Clovis North, 5:13
132: Durbin Lloren, Buchanan, p. Aaron Watts, Redwood, 1:44
138: Navonte Demison, Bakersfield, d. Joel Romero, Buchanan, 3-1
145: Greg Gaxiola, Buchanan, d. Isaiah Torres, Redwood, 9-2
152: Brandon Martino, Clovis, d. Chris Lane, Clovis West, 3-1
160: Abner Romero, Buchanan, maj. d. Sam Loera, Bakersfield, 14-3
172: Cade Belshay, Buchanan, maj. d. Ryan Reyes, Clovis West, 10-0
184: Josh Hokit, Clovis, maj. d. Anthony Montalvo, Buchanan, 12-4
195: AJ Nevills, Clovis, d. Trevor Ervin, Buchanan, 5-1
220: Zak Levatino, Buchanan, d. Tyler Collier, Clovis, 5-2
285: Seth Nevills, Clovis, p. Jarrod Snyder, Frontier, 3:23
Top eight in each division qualify to the Central Section Masters on Feb. 27 at Lemoore. Ninth-place finishers are alternates.
106: 3rd, Brandon Betancourt, Clov, d. Izzak Olejnik, Bak, 4-2; 5th, Cole Reyes, Fron, d. Matt Sanchez, Central, 10-4; 7th, Thomas Terrence, CE, maj. d. Mario Moreno, Mad, 12-2; 9th, Ruben Jimenez, Foot, dec. Jared Viramonte, Tulare, 9-4.
113: 3rd, Wyatt Cornelison, Clov, inj. def. Anthony Pacheco, Sang; 5th, Rocky Beckett, CN, d. Ryan Morphis, Fron, 5-3; 7th, Jayson Tristan, CE, p. Jared Callison, Mon, 4:52; 9th, Peter Bustos, Mad, d. Ramiro Castillo, Central, 2-0
120: 3rd, Anthony Chavez, Central, d. Matt Diaz, CN, 5-2; 5th, Ruben Gonzalez, Sang, d. Chris Gaxiola, Buch, 3-0; 7th, Matt Bracamonte, Foot, p. Keithan Estrada, East, 1:08; 9th, Estevan Bernal, Tulare, d. Ukiah Heasley, MO, 8-2
126: 3rd, Brett Villarreal, Buch, d. Isaiah Walls, CW, 3-1; 5th, Peter Corona, Ind, inj. def. David Campbell, MO; 7th, Brandon Rhoads, Clov, d. Abraham Del Toro, Mad, 10-6; 9th, Jordan Patoc, Lib, d. Adrian Gonzalez, Bak, 5-4
132: 3rd, Jordan Geiger, Clov, maj. d. Niko Peturcelli, CN, 14-2; 5th, Moses Contreras, Mad, d. Tavian Ball, Central, 9-2; 7th, Isaac Perez, Port, p. Issac Espinoza, MS, 1:58; 9th, Elijah Neal, McL, inj. def. Cristian DelaCruz, Del
138: 3rd, Bobby Miguel, CW, p. Santana Rojas, Lib, 3:38; 5th, Dylan Martinez, Clov, inj. def. Jaden Enriquez, MO; 7th, Esteban Corona, Ind, p. Nathan Alvarado, Mad, 2:49; 9th, Xander Moreno, CN, d. Julian Beltran, Bull, 9-4
145: 3rd, Jake Ladd, Clov, d. Beau Bradley, Mon, 8-5; 5th, Dillon Cravens, Bak, p. Augustine Garcia, MS, 1:55; 7th, Issak Espana, CW, d. Skyler Huskey, El D, 9-7; 9th, Ralphy Suarez, Foot, d. Albert Urias, Ridgeview, 11-6
152: 3rd, James Quintana, CE, p. Jonathan Garcia, Fron, 3:18; 5th, Ricky Gonzalez, Bak, d. Jake Levatino, Buch, 6-2; 7th, Mark Caldwell, Mon, d. Adrian Zendejas, Port, 9-4; 9th, Josh McMillon, Mad, p. Isaac Vasquez, Sunny, 3:17
160: 3rd, Jonathan Hunter, GV, p. Victor Vargas, Clov, 2:44; 5th, Dylan Miracle, MS, d. Isaiah Corona, Han, 5-4; 7th, Jordan Stanley, Central, d. Joey Sandoval, Port, 8-4; 9th, Armando Manzo, Lib, d. Riley Sherwood, CN, 5-0
170: 3rd, Ruger Wyneken, Clov, d. Nick Maiden, Stock, 6-5; 5th, Marcus Macias, Central, inj. def. Erick Moreno, Sunny; 7th, Chris Chapa, Mad, inj. def. Antonio Gutierrez, Bak; 9th, Willem DeBoer, Fron, tech fall Jacob Gonsalves, Lem, 15-0
182: 3rd, Angel Solis, Lem, d. Noah Rodriguez, Bak, 8-4; 5th, Jeremy Maas, Lib, p. Mark Halajian, CN, 2:57; 7th, Jeffery Kelley, Red, p. Nathan Chavez, MS, 5:50; 9th, Jasman Sandhu, Bull, maj. d. Juan Castillo, South, 12-4
195: 3rd, Adrian Godinez, Foot, maj. d. Elias Rosales, Bak, 10-1; 5th, Fabian Ramirez, Central, d. John Halajian, CN, 6-4; 7th, Andy Lopez, Lib, p. Tommy Slatic, Bull, 4:51; 9th, Amador Bautista, Red, maj. d. Andrew Torres, Fron, 12-2
220: 3rd, Bevan Brandt, Bull, d. Nathaniel Holloway, CN, 8-3; 5th, Angel Mariscal, Del, p. Montana Torres, South, 2:32; 7th, Hunter Parks, Han, p. Miguel Villanueva, MS, 3:11; 9th, Brian Abbott, Stock, d. AJ Barrientos, Bak, 4-3
285: 3rd, Bubba Varela, Ind, d. Armando Barcenas, Han, 5-2; 5th, Ricky Garcia, Reed, p. Ricardo Jaramillo, GV, 3:29; 7th, Victor Organista, South, p. Gunner Gardner, CN, 5:13; 9th, Robert Valenzuela, MS, pin Isaiah Ortiz, Buch, 2:49
106: Josh Cisneros, Selma, p. Gurjot Dhanda, Dinuba
113: Robert Areyano, Selma, d. Daniel Briseno, Washington
120: Robert Garcia, Selma, d. Isaiah Perez, Dinuba
126: Aaron Panduro, Corcoran, d. Adrian Marufo, Dos Palos
132: Tony Mendoza, Selma, d. Joe Romero, Corcoran
138: Jacob Wright, Dinuba, d. Oscar Diaz, Selma
145: Ruben Garcia, Selma, tech fall Alvaro Tamayo, Arvin
152: Jonathan Ramos, Selma, d. Alex Del Bosque, Dinuba, forfeit
160: Rawson Boland, Exeter, p. Jace Lachau, Selma
170: Christian Rodriguez, Selma, p. Fabian Maldonado, Avenal
182: Jacob Good, Exeter, d. Rodolfo Castulo, Kennedy
195: Ty Muxlow, Kingsburg, p. Kobe Rosas, Coalinga
220: Ramiro Macias, Kennedy, d. Nicholas Echeveste, Firebaugh
285: Rogi Alvarez, Selma, d. Edgar Hernandez, Corcoran
106: 3rd: Erik Olea, Exeter,; 4th: Jonah Hernandez, Corcoran; 5th: Jacob Licea, Washington; 6th: Martin Chaveza, Orange Cove
113: 3rd: Marcus Arreola, Dinuba; 4th: Mario Birrueta, Wasco; 5th: Joe Morales, Exeter; 6th: Joseph Price, Corcoran
120: 3rd: Brock Rogers, Corcoran; 4th: Ethan Stimpel, Exeter; 5th: Joseph Terriquez, Cesar Chavez; 6th: Anselmo Arrellano, Wasco
126: 3rd: Chris Cisneros, Selma; 4th: Zackary Bedrosian, Coalinga; 5th: Chris Rangel, Dinuba; 6th: Chris Villa, Wasco
132: 3rd: Armando Pimentel, Dos Palos; 4th: Marco Hernandez, Kennedy; 5th: Mark Alvarez, Dinuba; 6th: Ethan Ramos, Shafter
138: 3rd: Eason Deondre, Washington; 4th: Seth Garcia, Strathmore; 5th: Manuel Gamboa, Cesar Chavez; 6th: Ozvaldo Suarez, Dos Palos
145: 3rd: Chance Benadum, Dos Palos; 4th: Brandon Escalera, Granite Hills; 5th: Daniel Long, Dinuba; 6th: Caleb Bedrosian, Coalinga
152: 3rd: Tanner Jones, Exeter; 4th: Andrew Walker, Dos Palos; 5th: Xavier Gayton, Kerman; 6th: Rafael Zamudio, Shafter
160: 3rd: Ivan Sevilla, Coalinga; 4th: Jasper G Medina, Firebaugh; 5th: Bryan Pantoja, Garces; 6th: Bernardo Bustillos, Chowchilla
170: 3rd: S. Ruiz, Fowler; 4th: Richard Gonzalez, Tranquillty; 5th: Antonio Serrano, Firebaugh; 6th: Enrique Carillo, Farmersville
182: 3rd: Isaiah Martin, Garces; 4th: Josh English, Selma; 5th: Aric Rodriguez, Firebaugh; 6th: L. Angulo, Caruthers
195: 3rd: Eric Chicas, Firebaugh; 4th: Jacob Lightner, Kern Valley; 5th: Isaiah Jimenez, Selma; 6th: P. Martinez, Yosemite
220: 3rd: Manuel Madrid, Corcoran; 4th: Enrique Sanchez, Shafter; 5th: Matt Garcia, Selma; 6th: John Acuna, Cesar Chavez
285: 3rd: Hercules Ortiz, Caruthers; 4th: Brett Schuler, Bakersfield Christian; 5th: Anthony Perez, Exeter; 6th: Jesus Guerra, Kennedy