Clovis wins third straight state wrestling championship
BAKERSFIELD — By the time Adrian Salas and Nick Nevills took California high school wrestling’s grandest stage, Clovis High already had been in celebration mode for several hours.
So Salas and Nevills simply provided the finishing touches — winning the 182- and 285-pound crowns, respectively — as the Cougars ran away with a third consecutive CIF State Wrestling Championships team title Saturday at Rabobank Arena.
Clovis had scored enough points to stake claim to its record 11th state title and 25th top-5 finish during consolation round 6, nearly 8 hours before the start of the finals began at 7:15 p.m. The Cougars finished with 174 points, with Poway second at 109.5 and Vacaville third at 97.
“Our kids were prepared and did a good job,” Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle said. “There’s always going to be situations where you’re disappointed because you lost a match, but I’m really proud overall.”
State No. 1-ranked and national No. 19 Salas got a first-round takedown, an escape in the second and another takedown with 9 seconds remaining for a 5-1 win over Canyon Springs-Moreno Valley’s Immanuel Barber in the final.
“I feel great,” said Salas, a senior who finishes 42-1. “Winning it in my last year with a bang and taking the team title, there couldn’t be anything better.”
Nevills, No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the nation, became a two-time heavyweight champ when he pinned Los Alamitos’ Alex Redmond in 2:15.
The heaviest freshman state champion when he won two years ago and a third-place finisher last season dominated this year, becoming only the third person in California history to register six pins in six matches at the state championships.
“It’s fun to get back on top and show people how much better I’ve become since my freshman year,” said Nevills, who improved to 50-0 with his school record 44th fall. “I’m leaps and bounds better.”
While Nevills and Salas led the way with a combined 70 points, it was a complete team effort for the Cougars.
All 12 of Clovis’ state qualifiers won at least one match with bonus points. Cougar wrestlers were 42-19 overall, getting bonus points in 27 matches, including 19 falls.
Khristian Olivas became the first of Clovis’ meet-best five medalists when he finished fourth at 113 pounds, following a 13-4 loss to defending state division champ Zahid Valencia of St. John Bosco-Bellflower.
Olivas, who entered ranked 15th in the state, scored bonus points in three of his six wins during the tournament.
“Our coaches always say, ‘If you know you can beat them, then get the most points possible to help the team,’ ” Olivas said.
“We work really hard as a team all year. So it’s good to have this as a reward.”
Jonas Gaytan (third at 120) and Jason Ladd (fifth at 145) also medaled for the Cougars.
Gaytan, who was second in the state at 113 pounds last season, had targeted a title individually, but was edged 5-4 by North Torrance’s Jordan Gurrola in the quarterfinals. He rebounded with four straight wins, including a 3-2 reversal of fortune against Gurrola in the third-place match.
“Even if we lose our individual goal, the coaches motivate us to get the team goal,” Gaytan said. “We keep going after it. We don’t stop.
“I had to do it for myself and the team. It’s great to three-peat. People thought we would screw it up, but we didn’t.”
Breakdown of a champion
Clovis High won its third straight CIF State Wrestling Championships team title and its record 11th overall by getting contributions from all 12 of its qualifiers. Here’s how they racked up 174 total points.
Weight, Name, Record, Team Points (Place)
106 Julian Gaytan 3-2, 9
113 Khristian Olivas 6-2, 19 (Fourth)
120 Jonas Gaytan 6-1, 19 (Third)
126 Lane Barnes 1-2, 2
132 Xesus Velarde 1-2, 2
145 Jason Ladd 5-2, 19 (Fifth)
152 Dominic Kincaid 2-2, 6
160 Brody Brand 2-2, 7
182 Adrian Salas 6-0, 32 (First)
195 Matt Weiss 4-2, 12
220 Hexton Coronado 2-2, 10
285 Nick Nevills 6-0, 38 (First)
By Nick Giannandrea