By Daniel Leon | Editor
The Buchanan Bears continue to thrive even in the toughest environments.
After competing and winning elite national tournament The Clash XV in Minnesota, they turned right back to prep for the Doc Buchanan Invitational, the premiere wrestling tournament in the Valley which draws talent from across the state as well as Colorado and Oregon.
But the Bears, the No. 2 team in the ASICS National High School Team Rankings, picked up right where they left off as they used the success of champions Matthew Olguin (113), Ethan Leake (120), Brett Villarreal (138) and Anthony Montalvo (182) to capture the Doc B team title with 216 points.
“I thought we were a little flat on Day 1 [of the tournament] but we looked a lot better on Day 2,” said Buchanan head coach Troy Tirapelle. “You have to have a little edge about you and I think our kids have that. It’s fun to wrestle in front of your home crowd – I know it’s at Clovis High but we’re three miles away. I think our kids had a lot to prove coming in. Some of the rankers, whether its nationally or in California, have us ranked pretty high and our guys want to come out and show that they’re every bit as good as they look on paper.”
Up next was tournament host Clovis High who finished as runner-up with 174 points behind its upperclassmen and reigning state champion duo of Justin Mejia (126) and Seth Nevills (heavyweight), both of whom captured individual titles.
The second-place finish marks the second time this season the Cougars have finished as runner-ups to Buchanan with the first being at the Zinkin Classic back on Dec. 16-17. The crosstown TRAC rivals set to clash in a highly-anticipated matchup on Jan. 26 at Buchanan.
“Our biggest thing we talk about is imposing our will,” Tirapelle said about the team’s mindset this season. “We have a very talented team, a very good team and the only times we get in trouble are when we kind of just wrestle into the flow of the match instead of really forcing what we’re trying to do. We just need to wrestle our style and if we can do that, I feel really confident.”