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No. 8 Buchanan (Calif.) wins title over loaded Doc Buchanan field

For the second time in three weeks, No. 8 Buchanan (Calif.) successfully navigated through a loaded field to win a tournament title in an event held near Fresno. This time, it was the Doc Buchanan Invitational held at neighboring Clovis High School.

In a field with eight other nationally ranked teams and oodles of ranked wrestlers, the Bears placed eight starters on the podium along with two backups. Leading the way were weight class champions Carlos Negrete (113) and No. 3 Matthew Olguin (160); Negrete was an impressive champion as he cleared a pair of ranked opponents on Saturday, beating No. 16 (at 120) Tristan Lujan (Selma) 3-1 in overtime and then earning a 4-3 victory over No. 17 Vince Cornella (Monarch, Colo.) in the final.

Runner-up finishes for Buchanan came from Jack Gioffre (106) and No. 8 Max Renteria (120). Finishing fourth was Logan Gioffre (132), freshman Joseph Martin (145) finished sixth, while Rocco Contino (170) and Jadon Martin (195) placed seventh. Reserves placing sixth were Raymond Lopez (106) and Michael Gioffre (113). In all, the Bears amassed 194 points.

Tournament runner-up honors went to No. 4 Montini Catholic (Ill.), who had rallied for a 28-27 victory over Buchanan in a dual meet on Wednesday night. The Broncos scored 183.5 points on the strength of seven placers led by weight class champion No. 6 Jake Stiles (152). Stiles beat a pair of ranked opponents on Saturday to win one of many robust weight brackets in the tournament, 5-4 over No. 14 Aaron Gandara (Poway) in the semifinal and then 3-1 over No. 1 Isaac Wilcox (Olympus, Utah) in the final.

Two other Broncos finished as runners-up, both losing to ranked opposition, No. 15 Fidel Mayora (145) and No. 3 Peter Christensen (195). In fact, each had to beat a ranked opponent in the semifinal round to merely wrestle in Saturday evening's championship bout. Also placing were No. 12 Dylan Ragusin (126) in third, Trevor Swier (182) in fifth, Mike McNicholas (285) in sixth, and Dylan Burnoski (132) in seventh.

Third place in the tournament went to No. 3 Bergen Catholic (N.J.), who placed six wrestlers despite being short the services of Super 32 placer Dylan Cedeno (120) and at least two additional state qualifiers. The Crusaders' effort was anchored by weight class champions No. 5 Chris Foca (182) and No. 2 Jacob Cardenas (195); Cardenas beat a pair of ranked wrestlers on Saturday to earn gold, pinning No. 14 Jacob Good (Clovis) in the semifinal and beating No. 3 Christensen 10-5 in the final.

Additional placers were No. 4 Robert Howard (126), a defending champion who was upset by Mosha Schwartz (Ponderosa, Colo.) 12-10 in overtime in the championship match; No. 8 Nick Kayal (113) and Wade Unger (145) in fourth; along with Joseph Cangro (106) in seventh. Howard had beaten No. 17 Devin Murphy (Clovis North) 12-3 just to reach the final.

However, the story of the tournament had to be Schwartz, who beat two ranked wrestlers just to reach the final. That was a 6-4 quarterfinal victory on Friday night over No. 20 (at 132) Henry Porter (Oakdale) and then a 4-3 semifinal victory over No. 12 Ragusin. It set up the barn-burner of barn-burners in the Saturday night final, one in which Howard jumped out to a 7-1 lead late in the second period.

A late escape in that period cut the deficit to 7-2 before a reversal to start the third and then three takedowns in the last 71 seconds of regulation equalized the bout at 10-all. A takedown 14 seconds into sudden victory earned Schwartz the upset. Also winning a weight class title was his teammate, Cohlton Schultz. The No. 1 ranked 285 pound wrestler in the country had four pins in four bouts, cumulative time 5:02.

Rounding out the top five of the team standings were No. 11 Gilroy (140) and No. 10 Lake Highland Prep, Fla. (139.5).

Gilroy was led by weight class champion No. 6 Chase Saldate (138). He had a pair of win over nationally ranked opposition on Saturday, 5-3 over No. 13 (at 145) Legend Lamer (Crescent Valley, Ore.) and 3-2 over No. 13 (at 132) Justin Rivera (Lake Highland Prep, Fla.). They had another finalist in Nicholas Villarreal (285) plus four other placers: No. 4 Ryan Reyes (195) placed third, John Fox (145) placed fifth, Daniel Vizcarra (152) was sixth, while Jaydin Gomez (113) placed seventh. Three additional wrestlers fell one match short of placing.

Lake Highland Prep put five on the podium despite the absence of nationally ranked Chris Rivera (132/138). They were led by No. 4 Nic Bouzakis (120), who won the featured bout of the finals program, a 6-5 victory over No. 8 Maximo Renteria (Buchanan). Justin Rivera earned runner-up honors, and the team had three other placers in Kai Bele (160) taking third, Logan Andrew (195) in sixth, and Matt Kaplan (220) in eighth. Two other fell a match short of placing.

Rounding out the weight class champions were No. 1 (at 113) Richard Figueroa (Selma) winning at 106, Kyle Parco (De La Salle) beating No. 20 (at 138) Marcos Polanco (Bishop Amat) 9-4 to win the 132 title, No. 2 Jaden Abas (Rancho Bernardo) winning gold at 145, No. 11 Trent Munoz (Trabucco Hills) beating No. 18 Drake Engelking (Longmont, Colo.) 7-3 in the 170 final, and Mike Ruiz (Villa Park) winning the 220 final due to the medical forfeit by No. 5 Victor Jaquez (Bellarmine).

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