Now that the CIF state tournament in on the record books, here at The California Wrestler, we decided to empty the notebook and highlight some of the great stories of the event. The best part of covering 46th Annual state tournament is watching all ten mats scattered at Rabobank Arena and filling our notebook with account after account and post them here. Enjoy!!
Trifecta for the Bears
Once again, the Buchanan coaching staff did the impossible and captured a third-consecutive state team title. While the race was close during the first day of competition, the Bears ran away with the team title during the consolation rounds. A total of eighth members placed at the state tournament, with Maximo Renteria (113) and Anthony Montalvo (182) capturing individual titles. A total of six wrestlers will return next season in hopes of helping the Bears to captured a fourth-consecutive state title.
4X4 for the Cougars
This weekend, the Clovis wrestling program made history as Seth Nevills recorded his fifth fall at the CIF state tournament to become the third wrestler in California to captured four-consecutive state championships. Nevertheless, another record the Cougars broke this season, is that they are the first school to have two four-time state champions in Justin Mejia (2014-17) and Seth Nevills (2015-18). No other school in the golden state has even come close to breaking the record which I am sure to last for many years. Nevills ended his prep campaign with a 169-1 record. Seth and older brothers Zach, Nick, and AJ have now won nine state championships between them. Seth is committed to joining Nick next year at Penn State.
The De La Salle wrestling team is considered a power not just in California but the North Coast Section as well. They have captured many NCS titles and qualify many of their wrestlers to the big dance in Bakersfield. Nevertheless, the one thing missing for head coach Mark Halvorson was an individual state titlist. Mr. Halvorson was close to getting his first state champion in 2012 when Alex Abono advanced to the finals. However, Abono loss that year to Willie Fox of Gilroy. Anyhow, this year, coach Halvorson did get his first state champion when Peyton Omania won a close match at 145-pounds to become the first Spartan to do so. Omania will be joining 2017 CIF state champion Jaiden Enriquez (Mission Oaks) at Michigan State next fall.
The Dolphins have their first state medalist
The 2012 season was the first year Palisades High out of the Los Angeles Section field a wrestling team. The head coach was former San Francisco State grappler Randy Aguirre, formerly of South Hills High in Covina. In their short seven years of the existing program, Palisades has placed various wrestlers in their section and advanced many to the CIF state tournament. However, they had never had a state place winner until this season when Hamzah Al-Saudi made history by placing fifth at 195-pounds. Al-Saudi finished the tournament with a 5-2 record and engraved his name on the CIF record books.
A Saint in the city
All season long, Joey Daniel of Santa Ana, was on the radar to win an individual state title and become the first Saint to do so. Coach Scott Glabb has had great success in California by placing many of his wrestlers in the state tournament, and even at the NHSCA national tournament. However, all missing for coach Glabb was an individual state champion. Daniel, who has been competing in the sport of wrestling for many years, knew he could finish the task by incorporating his wrestling experience versus the opposition. Entering the tournament as the No. 5 seed, Daniel won five consecutive matches to become the first wrestler in the Santa Ana program to claim a state title. Daniel will be joining the U.S. Marines after graduating high school.
Straight out of Selma
A historic moment occurred at the state tournament when Richard Figueroa won his first state championship at 106 to join his older sister Gracie as a state champion in the same season. Gracie became a rare four-time state champion last weekend at 121-pounds. Richard finished the 2017 -18 seasoned undefeated against opponents from California, and he is on course to becoming a four-time state champion in 2021.
Year of the freshmen
A total of five grapplers started their wrestling careers strong as they advanced to the finals of the CIF state tournament. Richard Figueroa (Selma) and Maximo Renteria (Buchanan), both from the rugged Central Section, won individual state titles. While Carlos Negrete (Clovis North), Henry Porter (Oakdale), and Ryan Franco (Clovis North) finished second in their respective weight classes. Other first-year students that placed at the state tournament include Jayden Gomez (Gilroy), Luka Wick (San Marino), and Justin Darter of Bakersfield High.