State wrestling champions earn wins in Clovis
Clovis High’s Nick Nevills called for and soaked in the applause following his championship victory Saturday at the Doc Buchanan Invitational wrestling tournament.
Selma’s Alex Cisneros couldn’t get off the mat fast enough after surviving in his final.
Both reactions were understandable. The defending state champions wrestled in the two best matches during the finals of the 35th annual event at Clovis High.
Nevills overcame a 5-0 deficit — including three near-fall points at the first-period buzzer — before going on to a 10-8 overtime win over Vacaville’s Johnny Schupp in the 285-pound division. Nevills’ victory put the finishing touches on Clovis’ third straight team championship of the state’s toughest regular-season tournament — 92 schools entered this year.
“My coaches and I have been over this before,” said Nevills, who became the first freshman state 285-pound champion last season. “You just don’t panic. You’ve got to keep working. Just because someone gets caught early doesn’t mean you can’t come back.”
Cisneros went triple overtime in a 4-3 finals win over Gilroy’s Niko Villarreal at 138 pounds, riding out his opponent for 30 seconds of sudden death to capture his third cowboy hat, the tournament’s signature trophy. Cisneros beat Villarreal 10-1 in the quarterfinals of the state tournament last year, so he was not pleased with this effort.
“I didn’t go out there really prepared,” said Cisneros, who is aiming to become the state’s second four-time state champion. “I feel like I can be a lot better. But I wasn’t worried [in sudden death]. That’s my game. I like to condition, and I felt I could out-condition him.”
Three champs power Clovis
Nevills’ win pushed the Cougars’ team total to 205, well ahead of second-place Bakersfield (115) and third-place Poway (111.5) — the two teams expected to provide the biggest obstacles to Clovis winning a second straight state title and record 10th overall.
Clovis had two more champions: Jonas Gaytan beat Vacaville’s Kasey Klaus 6-0 in the 120-pound final; and Dakota Gordon beat Yosemite’s Kyle Lincoln in the 195-pound final.
The Cougars welcome the favorite’s role.
“It just makes us want to wrestle harder and stay on top,” Gordon said. “We want to show what we can do.”
Central Section domination
In all, seven Central Section competitors captured Doc Buchanan titles, including defending state champion Nikko Reyes of Clovis West, who beat Paul Yoo of Cypress 5-1 in the 182-pound final after pinning four opponents to get there.
The Illinois-bound Reyes heard boos during his match when he didn’t attack Yoo with his normal vigor, but that was by design as he nurses an undisclosed injury.
“I’m not [as] worried about winning this hat as I am about winning four NCAA titles,” Reyes said. “I’m a little injured and don’t want to risk getting in a stupid position. Come March, it will be 100%. It will be what’s expected of me.
“Right now I’m just keeping composed and learning every match. All the people booing are booing and going crazy, but I was getting the job done.”
Also claiming Doc B titles were Kingsburg’s Javier Gasca III with a 7-4 decision over De La Salle’s Joe Moita at 132 pounds and Lemoore’s defending state champion Isaiah Martinez with an 8-4 win over Bakersfield’s Coleman Hammond at 152 pounds.
“I was hoping to wrestle Alex [Cisneros]. I thought he’d be at 132s,” said Gasca, who also has wrestled at 126s this season. “He’s really good, and I wanted to see where I’m at. But I still had some great competition so I’m not disappointed.”
Basketball: Verhoeven scores 40
Grant Verhoeven surpassed his season averages with 40 points, 22 rebounds and 11 blocked shots in Central Valley Christian’s 80-73 boys basketball victory against host Bakersfield Christian on Saturday.
Verhoeven came in averaging 25 points, 18 rebounds and 5.7 blocks.
Josh Witschi added 17 points for the Cavaliers, and A.J. Rollema had eight points and nine assists.
Bakersfield Christian’s Tyler Harris, averaging 23.8 points, scored 38.
Central Valley Christian, down 44-38 at the half, took charge by shutting out the Eagles in the third quarter while scoring 20 points.
By Nick Giannandrea