The Clovis Cougars pose for a photo following their first-place finish at the Clovis West Shootout over the weekend. [Photo by Daniel Leon]
By Daniel Leon | Editor
The Clovis Cougars pounced on the competition at the 30th annual Clovis West Shootout, taking home the tournament crown with 207 points.
Gilroy (170.5 points) and Bakersfield (144.5 points) finished in second and third to round out the top 3 finishers. Clovis North (103 points) and tournament host Clovis West (84.5 points) finished in sixth and eighth place, respectively.
“We’re just trying to start getting guys into spots,” Clovis head coach Steve Tirapelle said of what he wanted his team to get out of the tournament. “We’re trying to get them some match experience so they learn from the heat of the battle.”
Leading the way for the Cougars were upperclassmen and first-place finishers Brandon Martino (170 lbs.) and heavyweight Seth Nevills, who both finished in first in their respective weight classes.
“We just wanted to wrestle hard today – both as a team and as individuals,” said Martino, a Fresno State commit. “We just go out with intensity every match and wrestle the way we know how to wrestle – scoring points, taking guys down and getting our hand raised after each match.”
Other notable finishes for the Cougars include Giano Petrucelli (106 lbs., 2nd), Mikelli Chiaramonte (152 lbs., 3rd), Tyler Gianakopulos (160 lbs., 3rd), Victor Vargas (182 lbs., 2nd), Jacob Good (195 lbs., 3rd) and Ruger Wyneken (220 lbs., 2nd).
The Cougars enter this season off a 2015-16 campaign in which they finished as runner ups in the state to TRAC rival Buchanan, snapping their streak of five-straight state titles from 2011-2015.
“We’re going to try to win and do the best we can,” Tirapelle added. “It’s a long year and a lot of things happen. There’s a lot of good teams returning so it’s going to be competitive at the end.”
This season, the Cougars will lean on their upperclassmen to lead as they look to reclaim the state crown.
“I like our returning guys that have experience,” Tirapelle said. “Our veteran guys are leaders on the mat that are competitors. They’re going to give their best effort and you count on them to do some positive things for the team.”
The Cougars next test comes this weekend at the Zinkin Classic, a two-day tournament (Dec. 16-17) hosted by reigning state champion Buchanan.