Sunday, October 30, 2011

2012 Season Preview

Welcome to another exciting year of Clovis Wrestling and maybe the most anticipated season in the history of the school. Last year, the Cougars finished off an incredible season in dramatic fashion that included historical marks in several categories:

• 4th consecutive TRAC League title
• 4th consecutive Central Section title
• Record-extending 9th State Team Championship
• #7 National Ranking
• State record 14 state qualifiers
• State record 9 state medal winners
• Extension of a dual win streak to 50 matches lasting over 5 seasons

For 2012, the team returns 9 state qualifiers and 6 state place winners, including 2 state champions, in hopes of setting a new bar for high school wrestling excellence by being the first high school to reach 10 team state titles in California. Clovis will begin the season ranked #1 in the state and #4 in the country for high school wrestling and will face the most grueling out-of-state test yet with a trip to The Clash in late December. The Clash is projected to have 7 of the Top 9 teams in the nation set to compete in what is likely the single toughest dual tournament competition in the history of high school wrestling.

2012 returning state qualifiers include:
• Daniel Gaytan – Senior – State Champion, 3x medalist, #11 national ranking
• Nick Nevills – Sophomore – State Champion, #3 national ranking
• Zach Nevills – Senior – 3x medalist, #5 national ranking
• Dakota Gordon – Senior – state medalist
• Jonas Gaytan – Junior – state medalist
• Adrian Salas – Junior – state medalist
• Matt Gay – Senior
• Colby Thompson – Senior
• Jason Ladd – Junior

Clovis leads nearly every category on the all-time state list including:
• Most Team State Championships – 9
• Most Top 5 Team Finishes – 23
• Most Individual State Champions – 23
• Most Individual State Medalists – 113

Pre-Season State Top 10 Teams:
#1 Clovis
#2 Bakersfield
#3 Poway
#4 De La Salle
#5 Gilroy
#6 Vacaville
#7 Clovis West
#8 Elk Grove
#9 Selma
#10 Lemoore

Pre-Season A.W.N. National Top 10 Teams:
#1 Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ)
#2 St. Edward (Lakewood, OH) – THE CLASH
#3 St. Johns (St. Johns, MI)
#4 Clovis (Clovis, CA) - THE CLASH
#5 Brandon (Brandon, FL) - THE CLASH
#6 Graham (St. Paris, OH) - THE CLASH
#7 Simley (Inver Grove Heights, MN) - THE CLASH
#8 Apple Valley (Apple Valley, MN) - THE CLASH
#9 Christiansburg (Christiansburg, VA) – THE CLASH
#10 Detroit Central Catholic (Detroit, MI)

**As of this writing, no weight classes are determined yet. These previews are designed to highlight the team and individual wrestlers vying for each staring spot in 2012.  New weight classes have been approved and instituted for the first time in 20 years for the 2011-2012 season, so comparisons to previous years will be adjusted.**

2011 Starter @ 103: Andy Ia
2011 Result: State Qualifier, 6th Central Section

With the minimum wrestling weight moving up this season, 106 should be quite the battle with more kids than ever being slotted for the lowest weight class. Leading the way is sophomore Julian Gaytan after some varsity experience a year ago, giving Clovis a chance at having three Gaytans in the lineup this season, never a bad omen for Clovis fans. He’ll be challenged closely by freshman and future star Khristian Olivas who also has a family history of success at Clovis. Khristian is the brother of current Clovis wrestler Dakota Gordon, and son of former Clovis wrestler and Valley Champion, Kelvin Olivas, and nephew of former Clovis State Champion, Ralph Olivas. Coming off an injury, Tristan Gilliland has a promising future and should have a solid freshman season pushing Olivas and Gaytan for the spot. Look for other freshman Cade Vonnothdurft, Cody Kliewer, Rene Bettencourt, and Darin Colis to provide depth at the weight class and possibly challenge for a starting spot at some point in the season.

2011 Starter @ 112: Jonas Gaytan
2011 Result: 5th State, 2nd Central Section

After a stellar 2011 season, look for state place winner and junior Jonas Gaytan to make a return to 113 this season and not only contend for the title, but be part of the core of this wicked Clovis lineup. The 2nd of the Gaytans looking to be in the starting lineup, Jonas has worked hard in the off-season to take his wrestling to a level commensurate with a state championship. Sophomore Matt Czeshinski comes off a year in which he was too small for the old 103lbs, but now will be a solid fixture at 113lbs after a good off-season of preparation. Another sophomore picking up wrestling a little late but making up for lost time is Andrew Garcia. He’ll share time with talented freshman Anthony Arosemena who is back from a year in the Bay Area after wrestling for Clark Intermediate in 7th grade.

2011 Starter @ 119: Daniel Gaytan
2011 Result: State Champion, Central Section Champion

It’s not often that you have a returning 3-time state place winner, but that’s exactly the case at 120lbs. Senior Daniel Gaytan has never finished outside the Top 4 at the state championships in 3 years, and comes off a season capped by a state championship in one of the most competitive weights in California. Though not an easy task, Daniel looks to repeat as the last man standing atop the mountain in March and enters the season with a #11 national ranking. If he is successful this season, he’ll become only the 3rd wrestler in the 15-year Tirapelle era to win multiple state championships (the first with the last name not Tirapelle) and the first wrestler in the 40-year Clovis history to win 4 state medals. Look for junior Lane McAlester to provide very solid depth at this weight class. Very capable of being not only a starter but a state contestant last season, Lane should rank amongst the state’s best this year. Sophomores (Harold) Wood Stearns and Austin Romo are back and will see much more varsity action this season. Freshman Drew Oxley is a star of the future and will look to gain tons of varsity experience this season to prepare for what promises to be a very good Cougar career.

2011 Starter @ 125: Matt Gay
2011 Result: State Qualifier, 4th Central Section

One of the hardest working student-athletes in the program, senior Vicente Hernandez looks to be the frontrunner to break into the starting lineup this season. Though without post-season credentials, Vicente is no stranger to upper echelon of wrestling in California. Look for him to quickly make a name and challenge for a podium spot in March. Junior Xesus Velarde, like McAlester, will be a force at the varsity level as well after a solid sophomore season. Freshman Lane Barnes, creating yet another family connection (with brother Brandon Barnes), should do very well in his freshman campaign and provide excellent depth at this weight class. Also competing here will be freshman Nino Rodriguez.

2011 Starter @ 130: Juan Salas
2011 Result: State Qualifier, 4th Central Section

After losing a great senior leader and staple of the Clovis program in Juan Salas, senior Matt Gay will look to move up a weight class and fill that void after a great finish to a surprising junior season. Matt’s talents are numerous and after his most productive off-season ever, the coaching staff expects big things from him at a very tough weight class. Another future star in a great freshman class, Caleb Trace, will challenge Gay and projects to do very well in his inaugural high school season. Another freshman with a familiar name, Michael Burriel – brother of former Clovis standout Tommy Burriel – will look to gain valuable experience at the weight class. Look for freshman Johny Diaz and junior Nick Yang to provide additional support as well.

2011 Starter @ 135: Jason Ladd
2011 Result: State Qualifier, 7th Central Section

At 138lbs, sophomore Sergio Enloe Jr. projects to make his first foray into the varsity lineup after a very successful freshman season. During his rookie campaign, Enloe defeated several eventual state qualifiers and a few state place winners as well. After gaining some valuable experience a year ago, he expects to challenge for a state medal this season. Sophomore Anthony Vargas and freshman Bailey Gilbert will see quite a bit of varsity action as well.

2011 Starter @ 140: Brady Bersano
2011 Result: 7th State, 3rd Central Section

One of the most improved wrestlers from a year ago, junior Jason Ladd will likely hold down the 145lbs spot this season. Ladd had an impressive transformation, going from competitive early in the season to a 2-match winner at the state championships in 2011. With an excellent off-season of preparation behind him, Jason has already turned some heads in the pre-season and the coaching staff expects him to continue to do throughout the year. He has an excellent chance of being a medal winner in March. Sophomore Marlon Watkins saw a lot of varsity action in his first year, and will likely be much more prepared this season to make some real noise. With many tools at his disposal, Marlon could make an impact on future teams and provide valuable support this season. Sophomore Adrian Tinoco and freshman Forrest King will also vie for position at this weight.

2011 Starter @ 145: Colby Thompson
2011 Result: State Qualifier, 7th Central Section

After an up and down season a year ago that finished on an ‘up’, senior Colby Thompson looks to become the 3rd Thompson in Clovis history this season to take home a state medal along side brothers Bryce and Blake. Colby put in his best off-season to date and should be a major force at 152lbs, with previous post-season experience in his back pocket to work from, and is the start of the murderous row of Clovis upper weights that compare favorably to any group in the nation. A trio of future Clovis stars will push Thompson and look to make their own name in the varsity lineup. Sophomores Brody Brand and Alberto Jauregui return from very successful freshman campaigns. Freshman Dominic Kincaid has already earned some nice victories over the summer against stiff competition and should have an excellent freshman season. Another freshman Angel Sanchez will also occupy the weight class.

2011 Starter @ 152: Blake Thompson
2011 Result: 5th State, 2nd Central Section

Back at 160lbs for a second season, junior Adrian Salas already has a 7th place state finish to his name and looks to add even more. With uncanny athletic ability and competitiveness, Salas should challenge for a championship in a very formidable weight class statewide. With great workout partners around him, this should be a breakout season for Adrian. The young talent keeps on coming at 160lbs, with 4 wrestlers that really could leave the program with career marks in four years. All freshman, Sean Cervantes, Adam Prentice, Kyle Humphreys, and Jonathan Peterson will get extended varsity action this season in preparation for the departure of a senior-laden upperweight group.

2011 Starter @ 160: Adrian Salas
2011 Result: 7th State, 2nd Central Section

If having a returning 3-time state medalist is rare, how rare is having two in the same season? The answer – this is the first time in history at any school in California. Like Daniel Gaytan, senior Zach Nevills has 3 state medals, never lower than 5th, and looks to become a rare 4-time California state place winner and as previously mentioned, the first 4-time medalist in Clovis Wrestling history. Only the title has eluded Zach, having made the finals as a sophomore and generating a magical comeback run to 3rd place a year ago to help secure the team state title. He begins the year ranked #5 in the country and looks to add a state championship to complete a remarkable high school resume, before embarking on a collegiate career at Stanford University. Sophomore Brandon Barnes gained a year of varsity experience and maturity, and should get another year of preparation before stepping into the starting role. Junior Tyson Perez returns for his 3rd season and should improve on a year ago. Another promising freshman Gabriel Skelton should see lots of action this season.

2011 Starter @ 171: Zach Nevills
2011 Result: 3rd State, 4th Central Section

A name that few know now but soon will, senior Ryan Davies is one of the best wrestlers yet to see the post-season in California. He spent his first 3 seasons diligently working and waiting patiently behind Zach Nevills and Tommy Burriel, while being neck and neck with state place winner Dakota Gordon a year ago. Slightly edged out from what was sure to be a promising post-season (he defeated several eventual state place winners during the year), Davies should have a breakout senior season, turning many heads along the way, and expects to get his first, well-deserved state medal this March.

2011 Starter @ 189: Dakota Gordon
2011 Result: 7th State, Central Section Champion

Senior Dakota Gordon burst onto the scene a year ago and rolled to a section championship and a 7th place state medal, although slightly below his own expectations. This season, he’ll be all of 195 and is a serious state championship threat. The strongest pound-for-pound wrestler in recent memory, Gordon is athletic and explosive and fits perfectly into the ‘Murderers Row’ of 152 to Heavyweight for Clovis High School. Two freshmen will likely also see time at 195. Adam Delavega is a good young prospect for the Cougars who will only get better with time, while Malik Younes will see some limited varsity action to gain experience for the future.

2011 Starter @ 215: Taylor Ferguson
2011 Result: 6th State, Central Section Champion

With the departure of senior 3-year starter and state place winner Taylor Ferguson, sophomore Matt Weiss looks to step up and fill the role this season. Coming off an impressive freshman campaign with wins over state qualifiers and over 30 individual victories, Weiss has all the tools and the partners to garner immediate success at 220lbs. Another freshman with tremendous upside, Hexton Coronado, will share time at 220. Hexton comes off a great junior high career and will look to adjust to high school level quickly.

2011Starter @ 285: Nick Nevills
2011 Result: State Champion, Central Section Champion

After a season of “firsts”, sophomore Nick Nevills aims to follow up one of the most amazing freshman seasons in high school history. A returning section champion, state champion, and carrying a #3 national ranking into this season, Nick has an eye on a second state championship as well as a second team state championship. Nevills will anchor the back half of the Clovis lineup already dubbed ‘Murderers Row’ and like Daniel Gaytan, will vie to become only the 3rd multiple time state champion at Clovis in the Tirapelle Era. Junior Joseph Dominguez will see time at heavyweight as well.

The core of the Clovis staff is intact and ready for another great season. Steve Tirapelle will guide his 15th Clovis squad with help from invaluable assistants Ben Holscher, back for a 6th season, and son Adam Tirapelle, back for his 8th year with the program. Also returning are key staff members Pete Samhammer, Clint Walbeck, Eric LeGarreta, Eddie Castillo, Scott Moore, and Nara Sihavong. Leading Clark Junior High for the 3rd straight season is veteran coach Kenny Martinez who looks to continue their winning ways, along with the help of Sergio Enloe Sr., in his 3rd season with the junior high program.

December 3rd – Newbury Park Invitational
December 9th & 10th – Clovis West Shootout
December 16th & 17th – Zinkin Classic @ Buchanan HS
December 20th & 21st – Coast Classic @ Aptos HS
December 30th & 31st – The Clash @ University Center (Rochester, MN)
January 6th & 7th – Doc Buchanan @ Clovis HS
January 11th – CLOVIS EAST
January 13th & 14th – Temecula Valley Invitational
January 18th – CENTRAL
January 25th – BUCHANAN
February 1st – CLOVIS NORTH
February 3rd & 4th – Mission San Jose Invitational
February 8th – CLOVIS WEST
February 11th – TRAC Championships @ Clovis West HS
February 17th & 18th – Valley Championships @ Mt. Whitney HS
February 25th – Central Section Masters Championships @ East Bakersfield HS
March 2nd & 3rd – California State Championships @ Rabobank Arena (Bakersfield, CA)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011