Clovis captures title at Battle for the Belt

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Clovis won the title at the 2013 Clinch Gear Battle for the Belt (Photo/John Sachs,

TEMECULA, Calif -- Less than five points. That has been the difference between No. 9 Clovis, Calif., winning titles at the two showcase regular seasons in the Golden State as opposed to finishing second. After winning their home tournament -- the Doc Buchanan Invitational -- two weekends ago by two points (180-178) over No. 3 Wyoming Seminary, Pa., the Cougars were champions at the Battle for the Belt in Temecula Valley, Calif. by 2-1/2 points over No. 33 Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.

Led by a tournament-high three champions and four finalists, Clovis used their nine total placers to score 228-1/2 points. Those champions were Jonas Gayton (126), No. 20 Adrian Salas (182), and No. 3 Nick Nevills (285), while Matt Weiss (195) finished as runner-up. Placing fifth were Jason Ladd (145) and Dominic Kincaid (152), seventh was Hector Coronado (220), while Tristan Gilliland (106) and Julian Gayton (113) took eighth.

It should also be noted that the Cougars won while filling only twelve weights, as they did not have a 120 or 132-pound wrestler this weekend. Their 120 at the Doc Buchanan, Khristian Olivas, placed sixth there.

While there are hundreds of matches during a tournament, it was the 126-pound championship match that one could say swung the title to Clovis. In a battle of two-time state placers, both runners-up last year, Gayton jumped out to a 2-0 lead after a period against Zeke Moisey (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.). However, Moisey then bounced back to take a 6-3 lead. In a third period storm, Gayton answered back to earn the 10-9 victory.

To finish second, Bethlehem Catholic, Pa. countered with a tournament-high ten placers. Lone champion for the Hawks was No. 3 Darian Cruz at 120 pounds, who was named Outstanding Wrestler for the lower weights after a 12-4 major decision victory over state champion Isaiah Locsin (Live Oak, Calif.), who is ranked No. 11 nationally. In the tournament, Cruz also had three falls and survived a 4-3 semifinal bout against state placer Jordan Gurrola (North Torrence, Calif.). As previously mentioned, Moisey finished as runner-up, and the Hawks also got third place finishes from Ryan Todora (138) and Josh Alpha (195).

The other six placers for Bethlehem Catholic finished either fifth or sixth. In fifth were Luke Karam (106), Connor Hedash (160), Nick Cortopassi (170), and Jose Ortiz (195); while Lee Todora (132) and Mark Maloney (152) finished sixth.

Despite just seven overall placers, No. 19 Poway, Calif. was able to finish a very close third with 220-1/2 points, as the Titans placed five inside the top three, one more than Clovis and Bethlehem Catholic respectively. Champions for Poway were Ralphy Tovar (132) and Victor Lopez (145).

Tovar beat A.J. McKee (Long Beach Poly, Calif.) in the final by 3-0 decision, after McKee earned the 9-2 upset victory over No. 12 Ali Nasser (El Camino Real, Calif.) in the semifinal. Lopez was named Champion of Champions after his 15-6 major decision victory over state champion Anthony Valencia (St. John Bosco, Calif.), who is ranked No. 14 in the 138-pound weight class. His other results were three pins and a 6-4 semifinal victory over state placer Ladd.

Tirso Lara (106) finished second, while third place finishes came from No. 17 Steve Cervantes (170) and Tim Chassen (220). Other Titan placers were Sergio Enloe (138) in fifth and Liam Sarahan (195) taking seventh.

Joining nationally ranked Poway with seven placers in the tournament was No. 43 Vacaville, Calif., who finished fourth with 148-1/2 points. That disparity of 62 points can be explained in that five of the Vacaville placers took sixth and seventh, while their lone upper-half placers were champion Jeremy Sweany (195) and Gionn Peralta (113) finishing fourth. Placing sixth was Chris Lai (182), while Cameron Bailey (126), Bobby Ehman (132), Hayden Fry (145), and Zach Dawson (152) all finished seventh.

Rounding out the individual award winners was Isaiah Martinez (Lemoore, Calif.), ranked No. 2 nationally at 160 pounds, and named Outstanding Wrestler of the upper-weights after a tournament run that included three pins and two technical fall victories. That included a 19-2 result in the finals over state champion Drew Smith (Damonte Ranch, Nev.).

Other weight class champions were Adrian Camposano (Central, Calif.) at 106 pounds, No. 1 Zahid Valencia (St. John Bosco, Calif.) at 113, Geordan Martinez (Pine Creek, Colo.) at 138, Coleman Hammond (Bakersfield, Calif.) at 152, No. 13 Corey Griego (Sultana, Calif.) at 170, and No. 4 Spencer Empey (Reed, Nev.).

Team Standings:
1) No. 9 Clovis, Calif. 228-1/2
2) No. 33 Bethlehem Catholic, Pa. 226
3) No. 19 Poway, Calif. 220-1/2
4) No. 43 Vacaville, Calif. 148-1/2
5) Bakersfield, Calif. 140-1/2
6) Lemoore, Calif. 137-1/2
7) Sultana, Calif. 127-1/2
8) Green Valley, Nev. 122
9) Bloomington, Calif. 109
St. John Bosco, Calif.

Finals Results:
106: Adrian Camposano (Central, Calif.) dec. Tirso Lara (Poway, Calif.), 9-5
113: No. 1 Zahid Valencia (St. John Bosco, Calif.) pin Sean Williams (Lemoore, Calif.), 3:46
120: No. 3 Darian Cruz (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.) maj. dec. No. 11 Isaiah Locsin (Live Oak, Calif.), 12-4
126: Jonas Gayton (Clovis, Calif.) dec. Zeke Moisey (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.), 10-9
132: Ralphy Tovar (Poway, Calif.) dec. A.J. McKee (Long Beach Poly, Calif.), 3-0
138: Geordan Martinez (Pine Creek, Colo.) dec. Terrill Sidener (Beaumont, Calif.), 6-1
145: Victor Lopez (Poway, Calif.) maj. dec. No. 14 (at 138) Anthony Valencia (St. John Bosco, Calif.), 15-6
152: Coleman Hammond (Bakersfield, Calif.) dec. Luke Wilson (Righetti, Calif.), 7-4
160: No. 2 Isaiah Martinez (Lemoore, Calif.) technical fall Drew Smith (Damonte Ranch, Nev.), 19-2
170: No. 13 Corey Griego (Sultana, Calif.) dec. Ray Lomas (Central Catholic, Calif.), 6-1
182: No. 20 Adrian Salas (Clovis, Calif.) dec. Immanuel Barber (Canyon Springs, Calif.), 4-3
195: Jeremy Sweany (Vacaville, Calif.) dec. Matt Weiss (Clovis, Calif.), 8-3
220: No. 4 Spencer Empey (Reed, Nev.) pinned Derrick Jones (Bloomington, Calif.), 3:41
285: No. 3 Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.) pinned Nour Abudllatif (Eleanor Roosevelt, Calif.), 1:26


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