Results, Takeaways & Full Recap Of The 2020 CIF State Championships

Results, Takeaways & Full Recap Of The 2020 CIF State Championships

Another season of California high school wrestling is in the books. We saw some surprises, some clear domination (looking at you Chase Saldate), and more.

Mar 2, 2020 by Jesse Smith
Results, Takeaways & Full Recap Of The 2020 CIF State Championships
Another season of California high school wrestling is in the books. We saw some surprises, some clear domination (looking at you Chase Saldate), and more. 

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Another season of California high school wrestling is in the books. We saw some surprises, some clear domination (looking at you Chase Saldate), and more. 

We’ll take a look at the top eight in each weight and some of the top stories heading out of Bakersfield. It may be true that CA doesn’t have the absolute toughest wrestling in the country — certainly top five, but gotta give the nod to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in particular — the state finals is absolutely the best show in the sport in the nation. Don’t @ me.

Team Standings

  1. Buchanan 261 points
  2. St John Bosco 183.5 points
  3. Poway 182.5 
  4. Clovis 159 points
  5. Selma 131 points

Placers

106

1st Place - ANDRE GONZALES of Poway

2nd Place - RAYMOND LOPEZ of Buchanan

3rd Place - BEAU MANTANONA of Palm Desert

4th Place - DOMINIC MENDEZ of Righetti

5th Place - ETHAN PERRYMAN of Temecula Valley

6th Place - CLARENCE MOORE of Gilroy

7th Place - MICHAEL TORRES of Oakdale

8th Place - ISAIAH MEDINA of Vacaville

113

1st Place - RICHARD FIGUEROA of Selma

2nd Place - JOEY CRUZ of Clovis North

3rd Place - ZETH ROMNEY of Chaminade

4th Place - JACK GIOFFRE of Buchanan

5th Place - DARIO LEMUS of Clovis

6th Place - BRAYDEN ABELL of Oakdale

7th Place - BROCK BOBZIEN of Poway

8th Place - LUIS ORTIZ of Calvary Chapel

120

1st Place - TRISTAN LUJAN of Selma

2nd Place - LAZ MALDONADO of Clovis West

3rd Place - MAX MARTINEZ of St John Bosco

4th Place - GEORGE ROSAS of Clovis

5th Place - CARTER BAILEY of Granada

6th Place - FERNANDO BARRETO of Rowland

7th Place - CASEY ROBERTS of Vacaville

8th Place - JOHNNY LOPEZ of Poway

126

1st Place - MAXIMO RENTERIA of Buchanan

2nd Place - DAMION ELLIOTT of Del Oro

3rd Place - KIMO LEIA of Selma

4th Place - JASON MIRANDA of Poway

5th Place - TIMOTHY LEVINE of St. John Bosco

6th Place - ADRIAN CHAVEZ of Central

7th Place - RYAN WATTS of Clovis North

8th Place - JUSTIN MOURITSEN of Clovis

132

1st Place - AARON NAGAO of Esperanza

2nd Place - HUNTER LEAKE of Buchanan

3rd Place - NICCO RUIZ of St. John Bosco

4th Place - DEVIN MURPHY of Selma

5th Place - RYAN FRANCO of Clovis North

6th Place - RYAN SPANGLER of Sultana

7th Place - COLLIN HAYES of Northview

8th Place - ADRIAN HERAS of Turlock

138

1st Place - ALEX RAMIREZ of Rowland

2nd Place - ISSAC SALAS of St. John Bosco

3rd Place - HENRY PORTER of Gilroy

4th Place - KYLER LAKE of Buchanan

5th Place - ZACH WATTS of Clovis North

6th Place - JOSHUA MEDINA of Servite

7th Place - JOHNATHON VIVEROS of Kingsburg

8th Place - MATT RODRIGUEZ of Righetti

145

1st Place - JESSE VASQUEZ of Excelsior Charter

2nd Place - JADEN LE of Rancho Bernardo

3rd Place - AARON GANDARA of Poway

4th Place - LOGAN GIOFFRE of Buchanan

5th Place - ELI BLAKE of Del Oro

6th Place - LUKE GAYER of Calvary Chapel

7th Place - CEASAR GARZA of Oakdale

8th Place - OSCAR ARANDA of St. John Bosco

152

1st Place - CHASE SALDATE of Gilroy

2nd Place - TYLER BADGETT of Rancho Bernardo

3rd Place - SONNY SANTIAGO of St. John Bosco

4th Place - REYMUNDO RAIZ of Buchanan

5th Place - JED CAMPOS of Del Oro

6th Place - NOAH CORTEZ of Dinuba

7th Place - SETH BORBA of Oakdale

8th Place - TYE MONTEIRO of Garces

160

1st Place - ANDREW SPARKS of Calvary Chapel

2nd Place - CAEL VALENCIA of St. John Bosco

3rd Place - ROCCO CONTINO of Buchanan

4th Place - KENDALL LAROSA of Pitman

5th Place - MAX WILNER of Fountain Valley

6th Place - TRENT SILVA of Windsor

7th Place - HASSAN KHAN of Franklin-EG

8th Place - WILL KLOSTER of Lemoore

170

1st Place - GIANO PETRUCELLI of Clovis

2nd Place - JOSEPH MARTIN of Buchanan

3rd Place - JT STINSON of East Nicolaus

4th Place - ALEX HERNANDEZ of Poway

5th Place - VALOR BUCK of Servite

6th Place - JARAD PRIEST of Bakersfield

7th Place - SEAN MYLES of Oakmont

8th Place - BRADEN SMELSER of Valencia/V

182

1st Place - NATHAN HAAS of St John Bosco

2nd Place - JOE CURTIS of La Costa Canyon

3rd Place - JAVEN JOVERO of Rancho Bernardo

4th Place - KODIAK STEPHENS of Bret Harte

5th Place - JADON MARTIN of Buchanan

6th Place - JOAQUIN GARCIA JR of Villa Park

7th Place - TYLER AVILA of Porterville

8th Place - CARSTEN RAWLS of St. Francis

195

1st Place - GUILLERMO ESCOBEDO of Los Altos

2nd Place - TYLER GIANAKOPULOS of Clovis

3rd Place - TRISTEN WILSON of Servite

4th Place - FELIPE RODRIGUEZ of Clovis West

5th Place - JOSH HARKEY of Dana Hills

6th Place - TREVOR TINKER of Northview

7th Place - DONIVAN GIANGREGORIO of Calaveras

8th Place - RUDY GARCIA of Selma

220

1st Place - BRANDON LEON of Roosevelt

2nd Place - JACOB CHRISTENSEN of Durham

3rd Place - PETER MING of Elk Grove

4th Place - GABRIEL CARRANZA of Victor Valley

5th Place - JUAN MORA of Pitman

6th Place - JUSTIN DARTER of Bakersfield

7th Place - MATEO MORALES of Clovis West

8th Place - ZACH BROOKS of Davis

285

1st Place - JOSIAH HILL of Bakersfield

2nd Place - NICK VILLARREAL of Gilroy

3rd Place - MALACHI LYLES of Mayfair

4th Place - LUCAS COOK of Lincoln L

5th Place - CHRIS ISLAND of Vacaville

6th Place - JONAH SCHMIDTKE of Clovis East

7th Place - ARTURO OJEDA of San Jacinto

8th Place - KADE CAMPBELL of Buchanan

Top Stories

1. Jesse Vasquez

No doubt the biggest story entering the weekend was the wrestler going for his fourth straight state title. He would become just the fourth wrestler in CA history to do it. And he got off to a start that really put to rest any doubt that he could or would achieve the honor. He didn’t wrestle much during the season so there was lots of gossip, rumor, and speculation. Then he beat Luka Wick in the first round of CIF competition with a very competitive final score. People wondered if there were cracks in the armor. No.

Jesse would go on to finish his career in typical dominating fashion. Earning the Champion of Champions honor along the way. It was his second such award in as many seasons.

2. Buchanan

Aside from the wrestler making history, the state’s best program joined an elite club as well: the five straight team titles club. There was really never any doubt they would do it. The Bears returned all but one state finalist from a year ago and saw the rise of such kids as Raymond Lopez and Rey Raiz. Max Renteria finished the season in his usual place — first.

They qualified all 14 starters and finished with 11 medalists. The question now is whether or not they can get that sixth in a row. It would set the record in the state if they do. They’ll lose guys like Hunter Leake, Rey Raiz, Jadon Martin, and Kade Campbell. But they’ll add Cisco Cabrera, Ray Ray Harris, among others. Hard to see the end of this run any time soon.

3. Chase Saldate

For my money, Chase was the most improved wrestler in the state. Maybe in the nation. He was pretty freakin’ good a year ago. He’s an absolute monster now. He earned one of only two pins in the final round of the weekend. His closest match in Bakersfield was 14-0. The scariest thing is that he isn’t done improving. Especially in freestyle where he is still relatively new and has world team aspirations.

Judging by the growth he made from his freshman to senior seasons, I have no reason to believe he won’t be a world medalist during his time at Michigan State. The Spartans got themselves an absolute steal and Chase’s absence will be felt in the state in the years to come. Except with his social media presence developing into a little empire — especially on TikTok — I guess he’s only a click away.

4. Richard vs Joey IV

If these two just want to wrestle 10 times and call it a day, I’m all for it. It’s the one weight in the state with the top two kids in the country. And they compete in the same section so we get to see it over and over again. However, as with the last 3 times they met this season, the fourth (for the state crown) went the way of the Selma Bear. Takedowns between these two are scarce.

But, it always seems to be Richard getting the one or two in each match. It’s hard to win if you can’t take your opponent down once. And that’s a calculus problem Richard presents that Joey has yet to solve. If he does, an ultra-competitive series becomes even more interesting, if that’s possible. If he doesn’t, he’ll continue being among the sport’s very best, just not quite all the way there.

As for Richard, he now sits (along with Max Renteria) as the next possible four-time state champion in CA. What impresses me the most about him — more than anyone else in the country really — is that he just doesn’t lose folkstyle matches. He ALWAYS figures out the way to get one reversal when it’s been a series of escapes. The one takedown when there has been no scoring. His savviness and match awareness are truly one of a kind.

5. Senior Champions

Of the 14 state champions this season, nine were seniors going out in style. Of those nine, six made the top of the podium for the first time in their careers. That’s getting it done. The list of nine seniors (including total number of titles) is below:

120: 120: Tristan Lujan (Selma) - 2 titles; Michigan State

132: Aaron Nagao (Esperanza) - 2 titles; Minnesota

145: Jesse Vasquez (Escelsior) - 4 titles; Undecided

152: Chase Saldate (Gilroy) - 1 title; Michigan State

160: Andrew Sparks (Calvary Chapel) - 1 title; undecided

170: Giano Petrucelli (Clovis) - 1 title; Air Force

182: Nathan Haas (St John Bosco) - 2 titles; Nebraska

195: Guillermo Escobedo (Los Altos) - 1 title; Wyoming

220: Brandon Leon (Roosevelt) - 1 title; undecided

285: Josiah Hill (Bakersfield) - 1 title; Arkansas Little Rock

6. Underclassmen

While the seniors were busy hogging up all the first-place trophies, the freshmen and sophomores were putting in work and look to have the state in good shape. The headliner coming into the season was St John Bosco’s Max Martinez. He finished third after a scorching run through the Southern Section last week and great showing in Bakersfield. I had him as the champion this weekend, and he fell just a little short of that goal. But, he’ll be in position to win it from here on out.

After Martinez, another Southern Section phenom, Beau Mantanona, looked for all the world like he had tapped into older brother Anthony’s pin sauce and might just steamroll the field. Andre Gonzales had other plans, a little more savvy in his experience. But, Beau should be considered a threat — and likely state champion — over the course of his career.

Kimo Leia is a sophomore from Selma who saw his career get off to a rather inauspicious start, certainly for his expectations. He came into Bakersfield having pushed the top seed Renteria as well as anyone this season. Thought he might make that final push to the Saturday Night show. Not quite. But he’ll be there in the mix yet again.

Speaking of that loss in the semis, it was Damion Elliott from Del Oro who defeated Leia and earned the spot in the finals. This could be the makings of a very nice rivalry in the Golden State as they move forward to the second half of their high school careers.

In the middleweights, Luke Gayer of Calvary Chapel appears to be the best-positioned for a deep state title run next season. After watching teammate Sparks have a remarkable finish to his season, I would expect Gayer to be in that same lane as early as 2021.

Sergio Montoya is a freshman from Clovis North who made the bloodround. He has plenty of time to continue developing and rounding into shape beyond that of an upset candidate but a true contender.

In the upperweights, Buchanan’s Joe Martin is set up to win a state title or two. He’s going to be one of the anchors in the state’s best lineup for the final two years of his career as a Bear.

7. Andrew Sparks

Have to give special mention to the kid that came up biggest, pulling out the biggest win the state for a wrestler from the state. Up to Saturday night, the best win of the season for any CA wrestler was the Cael Valencia domination over Ohio’s Paddy Gallagher. In that same Doc B tournament, Sparks had pushed Valencia to a 6-5 final. That ignited the debate, was that more about Sparks or more about Cael? After the finals, it was obvious. That was ALL about Sparks.

He’d get a 2nd crack at Cael in the SS finals, where Valencia won 5-1. It seemed after that — at least to me — that while Sparks was a tough test for Cael, he just wasn’t quite able to clear the bar. Then came Saturday night and in a twist of fate for Valencia, as he had done to Gallagher, it was Sparks in on legs, finishing shots, and ultimately watching the final seconds tick off of a convincing win. Cael still has one more season to get that state title. For Sparks, who goes by “sparknado” on social media, he truly created quite the whirlwind.


Jesse Smith covers all things wrestling in California with Takedown Media. You can find him on Facebook and Patreon.