The top high school wrestling programs put it all on display this weekend at one of the top tournaments in the nation.
The Doc B Invitational sees schools from as far as New Jersey and Florida and many states in between all convene at Clovis High school to test their mettle against some of the best of the best.
“It shows a lot of respect for our area,” longtime Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle said. “People are willing to pay $18,000 to 20,000 to come out here and compete. The fact is that our community is so supportive and so proactive with what we’re doing.”
And the Valley wrestling fans had plenty to support and be proud of.
Finishing first overall as a team with 185.5 points was Buchanan, also the winners of the Zinkin Classic at Buchanan Dec. 20-21. The margin was 38.5 more than the second place team Montini Catholic out of Illinois.
Raymond Lopez defeated Michael Torres of Oakdale by pin for Buchanan in the 106-pound division to take home the Bears only finals win.
Carlos Negrete Jr. lost the other Bears final against Tristan Lujan of Selma in the 120-pound division.
Rocco Contino, Maximo Renteria, Logan Gioffre, Kyler Lake, Joseph Martin, Jack Gioffre and Hunter Leake all finished within the top eight for the Bears in their respective weight classes.
Coach Troy Tirapelle overall was pleased with how his team performed over the weekend.
“We did good overall,” Troy said. “It’s kind of strength in numbers and you need a lot of them to be at the top. We kind of put it together this week at practice. We had a little shortcoming up in Gilroy… it was a wake-up call.”
CUSD as a whole had a very solid showing, with host school Clovis finishing eighth as a team with 102 points.
The Cougars had four wrestlers finish within the top six individually, including Giano Petrucelli who finished second, losing in the 170-pound final against Gavin Kane of Cambridge, Georgia. George Rosas, Dario Lemus and Tyler Gianakopulos were the other placers for Clovis.
“Those four guys did very well,” Cougars coach Adam Tirapelle said. “We have a younger team and some of those guys weren’t quite ready for this level of competition. When you wrestle great competition you really find out a lot about yourself.”
Jonah Schmidtke finished in third place for Clovis East in the 285-pound division; Joe Alaniz and Mateo Morales finished fifth and sixth respectively for Clovis West in the 285 and 220-pound classes.
Joey Cruz and Ryan Watts of Clovis North placed second and eighth in the 113 and 126-pound divisions, respectively, to round out the placers for CUSD schools.