Vacaville High School Wrestling finishes 3rd at The Clash National Duals
Press Release: January 7, 2019
In 2002, the Southeast Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission in Rochester, Minnesota, had a vision of bringing together 32 of the best high school wrestling teams in the country, to wrestle a dual format tournament. Since then, only Apple Valley, Minnesota, and Vacaville High School, California, have entered all 17 tournaments. Only fitting then, did these two meet this past weekend in what was to be one of the Bulldogs’ finest hours.
Vacaville High School’s wrestling team finished 3rd place overall at The Clash, National Duals, this past weekend on January 4-5, 2019. 32 teams fill four 8 team brackets on day one, with teams matched on day 2 by record.
Seeded 4th in their bracket, Vacaville defeated North Scott, Iowa (5 seed), 49-15 to open the day. Then, in what would turn out to be one of three major upsets, the ‘Dogs followed up by defeating #1 seed and 5-time Clash champs Apple Valley, Minnesota, 34-27. Trailing 20-6 at the midway mark in the dual, Vacaville starting battling back, as freshman Kainoa Medina (106 lbs), started a series of 4 consecutive wins to come from behind and cap the dual. Vacaville finished the day defeating #2 seed Denver, Iowa, 36-29. This was only the second time in the history of the tournament a 4 seed would win a first day bracket.
On the second day, in the championship pool, the ‘Dogs continued the string of upsets by defeated Shakopee, Minnesota, ranked 44th in the United States, 28-22. In dramatic fashion, Ethan Birch, son of Vacaville co-coach Clint Birch, capped the dual meet with a 6-3 decision over fellow freshman Riley Quern of Shakopee, to secure the upset victory for his team.
In round 2, Vacaville fell to the eventual champions Oak Park and River Forrest High School, Illinois (22nd Nationally), 51-16. The Bulldogs finished the day wrestling Waverly Shellrock, Iowa (48th Nationally), to a 34-34 tie, eventually losing on a team penalty point. Shakopee defeated Waverly Shellrock in the previous round, creating a three way tie for second. Total points were used to determine the final order, resulting in Vacaville landing in 3rd place, behind OPRF and Waverly. The ‘Dogs finished with a 4-2 record, matching their best finish at the tournament, by the 2003 Bulldog squad featuring Vacaville Hall of Famer Kyle Devan.
Vacaville was led by its senior class, all of whom contributed to the team success – TJ Ruiz (120 lbs), Connor Shirar (126 lbs), Brenden Miller (126 lbs), Jacob Peralta (132 lbs), Zane Martin (145 lbs), Tyee Ducharme (152 lbs), and Cole Chapman (170 lbs). Junior Chris Island (220 lbs), Shirar, Peralta, and Ducharme all finished the tournament with 5-1 records.
Vacaville returns to California to begin league duals this week. The Bulldogs will face Fairfield and Armijo High Schools at home this Wednesday, January 9. Wrestling begins at 4 pm, with alternating JV and Varsity dual rounds.