Breaking Down The Top Five Teams From The 2017 State Tournament

Photo credit John Sachs

Ethan Leake

Buchanan High

Coach – Troy Tirapelle

Section – Central Section

Returning varsity wrestlers – Josh Poore, Matt Olguin, Ethan Leake, Tyler Deen, Wyatt Peverill, Brett Villareal, Tristan Zamilpa, Chris Gaxiola, Joel Romero, Anthony Montalvo, and Trevor Ervin

Key losses – Jake Levatino, Cade Belshay, and Isaiah Ortiz

Commentary – The Bears of Buchanan High, have become the new power in the golden state with their dominant performance at the CIF state tournament the past two seasons. They return 11 varsity wrestlers with state experience, 161 points from last year’s state championship team, and three state champions that include Olguin, Leake, and Montalvo. Deen recently placed fourth at Junior Freestyle Nationals and has put the nation on notice. The Bears should begin the 2017-18 season as the top ranked team in the state.

Giano Petrucelli

Clovis High

Coach – Steve Tirapelle

Section – Central Section

Returning varsity wrestlers – Giano Petrucelli, Brandon Paulson, Brandon Rhoads, Max Anderson, Mikelli Chiramonte, Tyler Gianakopulos, Jacob Good, Joey Jaramillo, and Seth Nevills.

Key losses – Wyatt Cornelison, Justin Mejia, Brandon Martino, Victor Vargas, and Ruger Wyneken

Commentary – Steven Tirapelle is losing four-time state champion Justin Mejia as well as 2017 state champion Brandon Martino, but there are also a lot of smaller pieces from the 2016-17 CIF state runner-up team that are coming back. Three-time state champion Seth Nevills, the second ranked overall wrestler in the country by The Open Mat, should help cushion the blow of Mejia and Martino’s departure. Petrucelli, Paulson, Chiramonte, Gianakopulos, and Good should help the Cougars get back to glory.

Carson Sauriol

Poway High

Coach – Wayne Branstetter

Section – San Diego

Returning varsity wrestlers – Jacob Allen, Carson Sauriol, Cameron Santiago, Chase Zollmann, Josh Tolentino, Domonic Mata, Nathan Tausch, and Javier Espinoza

Key losses – Scott Kiyono, Quentin Hovis, Hampton Boyd, Justin Pursley and Nick Klekas

Commentary – The Green mean machine won’t be as star-studded this season as they were in 2016-17, but that doesn’t mean they won’t wind up being more successful as Poway always finds a way to finish top 10 in the state. Coach Branstetter will count on Allen, Zollmann, Tolentino, Mata, and Tausch, to win their 31st San Diego Masters Meet tournament. Zollmann has competed in two tough weight brackets the past two seasons that have denied him the opportunity to win an individual state title. Next fall could be the season where he can wind up winning an individual state championship as a senior that everyone thought he’d have in 2016-17.

Oscar Diaz

Selma HS

Coach – Sammy Lopez

Section – Central Section

Returning varsity wrestlers – Tristin Lujan, Blake Estrada, John Sosa, Luis Ramos, Tony Mendoza, Jonathan Ramos, Jace Luchau, Oscar Diaz, Christian Rodriguez, Kevin Garcia, Isaiah Jimenez, Satvir Cheema, and Robert Areyano

Key losses – Robert Garcia and Matt Garcia

Commentary – Coach Lopez and staff are excited about the possibilities of the Bears breaking the two-year hold of Buchanan, that they have been having at the state tournament as they return nine wrestlers with state experience. Their lone loss was Robert Garcia, a rare four-time CIF medalist. Nevertheless, they should get back the services of Robert Areyano, a former two-time state qualifier that should be ready to become a state medalist next fall. Add double Fargo All-American Luchau and a great incoming freshman class, and Selma could top the 2009 and 2010 teams that wound up second in the state tournament.

Nicholas Aguilar

Gilroy HS

Coach – Greg Varela

Section – Central Coast Section

Returning varsity wrestlers – Nicholas Aguilar, Chase Saldate, Daniel Vizcarra, Alex Felix, Johnny Fox, Nathan Villareal, Dallas Gutierrez, Joseph Barnes, Nicholas Villareal, Ryan Encincio, and Tony Andrade

Key losses – None

Commentary – With four returning state medalists and two finalists (Aguilar and Andrade) Coach Varela’s Mustangs will be attempting to win their 16th straight Central Coast Section title. There is no single wrestler whose return to the wrestling mats matters more than Aguilar. The rising senior is figured to be recruited by some of the top collegiate programs in Division I and he’s a near lock to be a state champion in 2017-18 and help Gilroy back to being a state championship-caliber team.