Buchanan Empire reigns supreme after another state title, while Clovis High Cougars place third.
Once again, the Buchanan Bears flexed their muscles in the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield to win a fourth state wrestling title after outscoring second-place Gilroy 235-182. The Clovis High Cougars rounded out the top three with 171.5 points, making it 11 straight top-five finishes for the Cougars.
“It’s a little a hard to put into words. I think outsiders think this is easy because we are able to continue doing this, but I promise it’s everything but,” Buchanan wrestling head coach Troy Tirapelle said. “It’s even more difficult to continue to do this because the amount of work and the people gunning for you.”
For the Bears, this year was different than the past few. Most of the last three championship-winning squads were elder classmen, forcing Tirapelle and the Bears to rely on young talent — and they didn’t skip a beat.
“The coolest thing about this year was that it was like starting over with a whole new team. The kids knew the tradition and the legacy that they wanted to keep going, but the group that had won three straight titles pretty much all graduated,” Tirapelle said. “It was pretty much a whole new batch of kids scoring points for us. They knew the expectation, but until you get out there you don’t really know what you’re getting.”
Buchanan had eight wrestlers in the top five and six wrestled in the finals. Matthew Olguin won his match at 160 pounds for his second-straight title, Maximo Renteria took home the title for 120 pounds, and Cristelle Rodriguez secured a girls title at 101 pounds.
Rodriguez was the first female wrestler at Buchanan, but that didn’t stop her from making her mark on the mat. The Bear was a top-ranked seed before she defeated beating Sofia Martinez of Ayala-Chino. Rodriguez blanked her opponent 6-0.
“We don’t have varsity, junior varsity or freshman. We run our program kind of unique where we don’t really have a boys team or girls team. Cristelle did Buchanan wrestling, just like everybody else did. She kept up and with no modifications whatsoever,” Tirapelle said. “I knew her training was there, and I knew she would be ready. She’s been wrestling the boys who’ve been in state and winning the state, so it should’ve transferred over nicely when competing against girls.”
For the Cougars, after 11 straight top-five finishes in state, it’s safe to say they are one of the stronger programs not just in the Valley, but also the state.
Senior Jacob Good won the 220-pound division with a 10-1 win over his opponent.
- 2nd – Jack Gioffre, Buchanan
- 2nd – Carlos Negrete Jr, Buchanan
- 4th – Justin Mouritsen, Clovis
- 1st – Maximo Renteria, Buchanan
- 2nd – Brandon Paulson, Clovis
- 3rd – Joey Cruz, Clovis North
- 2nd – Ryan Franco, Clovis North
- 4th – Giano Petrucelli, Clovis
- 5th – Tyler Deen, Buchanan
- 4th – Joseph Martin, Buchanan
- 1st – Matt Olguin, Buchanan
- 2nd – Rocco Contino, Buchanan
- 5th – Christian Rodriguez, Buchanan
- 5th – Tyler Gianakopulos, Clovis
- 2nd – Jadon Martin, Buchanan
- 1st – Jacob Good, Clovis
- 1ST – Cristelle Rodriguez, Buchanan
- 3rd – Baoanh Duncan, Clovis