The force was certainly strong with Buchanan High Thursday night. It led them to their first ever CIF State duals championship.
On a Star Wars-themed evening of wrestling between two of the best programs in California, Buchanan exerted brute force in their 42-14 dual victory over host Clovis High, highlighted by pins from three Bears: junior Rocco Contino and seniors Jaden Martin and Zane Rix.
The victory awarded the Bears the 2020 CIF state duals title, an award introduced to wrestling this season.
Not only was Thursday’s “Return of the Dual” between the Bears and Cougars for a state championship, but 23 of the 28 wrestlers competing in the dual stood in the Top 20 State Rankings.
As a cherry on top, Buchanan entered this year’s dual ranked #1 in the state and #3 nationally.
Buchanan lived up to their high marks with a quick 9-0 start, led by a regular decision win from junior Carlos Negrete and win via technical fall by Maximo Renteria.
Renteria – a junior ranked #1 in California at 128 pounds and owner of two individual state wrestling titles – noted preparation as key to Buchanan’s hot start.
“We work hard every day in the wrestling room, Monday through Friday,” Renteria said. “Putting in the work got us ready for Clovis.”
Clovis answered with a regular decision win by Sloan Swann in one of the more entertaining matches of the dual. Swann fell behind in points early against Buchanan’s Hunter Leake, yet rebounded in the second and third periods to secure the decision.
Buchanan then responded back by winning four straight matches, including Contino’s pin, to take control of the dual with a 24-3 lead.
Clovis senior Giano Petrucelli – the #1 wrestler in California at 170 pounds – won his final match on a Clovis High mat, defeating Buchanan’s Joseph Martin in a regular decision.
Immediately after Petrucelli’s win, Jaden Martin swiftly pinned Clovis’ Christian Smith to squash any chance of a Clovis comeback.
Clovis senior and Cal Poly signee Tyler Gianakopulos secured a majority decision along with Matthew Terrance for the Cougars, but Buchanan’s insurmountable lead held as the Bears finished the regular season 14-1, with a 5-0 TRAC record and a newly minted state duals crown.
“It wasn’t hard to get energy out of the team tonight,” Bears wrestling director Troy Tirapelle said. “They had all their friends and peers here to support, and it’s the most fun event of the year for them.”
With Buchanan’s dominant win over Tirapelle’s alma mater Thursday, the Bears added to their already crowded trophy case. The program will now seek its fifth straight CIF team wrestling title on February 27th in Bakersfield.
For Tirapelle, all the success of Buchanan wrestling is the work of multiple hands
“It takes a lot of people to support this program,” Tirapelle said. “All the coaches, administrators, players and their families have helped us reach this point.”