Clovis West Shootout

Clovis, CA. – The new season is upon us. Finally. And throughout the Golden State, wrestlers are set to get the party started. And we could see a great deal of early elite action at this weekend’s Clovis West Shootout. Buchanan High, also known as the Penn State of California, will be looking for their eighth straight team state title. The Bears return six state medalists and one more who finished in the blood rounds. However, this year might be the first in awhile that they face a real challenge to the throne. Poway and Gilroy come into the new season with higher national rankings. Although, this isn’t the first time, and we all know to be the king you gotta beat the kind. Good luck to them.
Another team expected to challenge the Bears is their hometown rival Clovis High Cougars. Depending who they bring this weekend, they’ll have their own loaded team, composed of state placers and qualifiers. On paper we could get a nice early season team race at this tournament. But nothing is for sure as far as who actually competes.
Additional teams who could challenge Buchanan and Clovis include Clovis West, Dinuba, and Vacaville High, one of the top schools in the Sac-Joaquin Section. It’s also possible Royal High is here as well and they’re a quality team from the Southern Section. Regardless, this is a good opening challenge to the season and we hope to catch some great CA wrestling at Clovis West.
**** It is early in the season so many wrestlers that I wrote about in the article may or might not compete this weekend or could be at different weights ****
The 106-weight class includes two top 10 kids in Blake Woodward (Buchanan) ranked #2 and Anthony Garza (Clovis) #9 in the state. Woodward was an All-American at the 2023 NHSCA Freshman nationals, while Garza went 3-2 at Super 32. Both should see each other a lot during the season as both kids compete in the same league and section.
State finalist Rocklin Zinkin (Buchanan) should steer the pack in this weight class. With a second-place finish in California and a top-12 result at Super 32, Zinkin will likely have a target on his back with other wrestlers trying to get the upper hand. Thunder Lewis (Clovis) may be the potential opponent for Zinkin after having finished fourth at the CIF state tournament. Upperclassmen Anthony Castillo of Central will venture and ruin the Zinkin/Lewis matchup. Castillo was third in his section tournament and wrapped up the season top 12 in the state. Don’t sleep on Elijah Almarez of Vacaville High who was fourth at the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Presuming C.J. Huerta (Buchanan) competes this weekend, he should be the top contender at 120 pounds. Huerta finished second last year in this event. He has a drive to claim a Shootout title for the first time in his already illustrious wrestling career. A wrestler who will be a headache for Huerta is Southern Section phenom Mason Carrillo of Royal. Up a weight class, Carrillo will try to put himself in the mix of wrestlers that could win a state title in March. Dinuba’s state qualifier Nicholas Quintana is the other wrestler in the field with state experience.
Another wrestler with the surname Zinkin should press to win a Shootout title this weekend. With two state medals under his belt, Nikade Zinkin (Clovis) is an orthodox individual who rarely gets in trouble. Still undecided about where to compete in the next level, Zinkin will be a great catch for any college team. Two wrestlers from rival Buchanan High are set to compete in this weight class. They are Paris Ruiz and Ashton Besmer. Ruzi comes from great stock as his father (Paris) was a two-time place winner for Clovis West. Ruiz Jr.’s scholastic career includes wins over state placer winners Siraj Sidhu (Del Oro), Thunder Lewis (Clovis), and state champion Ronnie Ramirez (Walnut). Besmer is no slouch himself as he has had victories over great wrestlers like Jayden Wren (formerly of Clovis), state place winner Mason Carrillo (Royal), and Jason McDonald (Lemoore).
Leo Maestas (Clovis West) will look to claim an individual title this weekend for the Golden Eagles at 132 pounds. Maestas is a two-time state qualifier and one of the leaders for the Golden Eagles. Let’s not forget about senior Eli Granada (Clovis). Despite not having the post-season he was expecting, he did have a great regular season that saw him place third at the Shootout and the Zinkin Classic. I am excited to see Anthony Harris back in the Buchanan High lineup. Back in 2022, Harris finished top 12 at the state tournament at 106 pounds. He is 1-1 against Granada as he defeated him 4-2 in the semifinals of the Shootout last year. Granda returned the favor by beating Harris 3-0 in the consolation semifinal round of the Zinkin Classic. Izaak Mendoza (Redwood) will be in the field this weekend. He was a state qualifier last year at 120 pounds.
Gavin Bauder (Buchanan), formerly of Clovis North, is the highest-ranked wrestler at 138 pounds in the tournament. However, due to transfer rules he should be back in the second half of the season for the Bears. With him not on the field, the top competitor this weekend should be state qualifier Qusai Marini (Vacaville). Marini placed fifth at the Shootout and the Sac-Joaquin Section to punch his ticket to state. Caleb Rubio (Exeter) was a section qualifier last season, and his best tournament finish was sixth at the Sierra Nevada tournament. Keep an eye on freshman Wyatt Lewis (Clovis) who finished seventh at the prestigious Grappler Fall Classic Preseason tournament in Michigan.
A pair of top-five wrestlers from California are programmed to compete this weekend at 144 pounds. Those wrestlers are 2023 state finalist Joseph Toscano (Buchanan) and two-time state place winner Thomas Thongseng (Exeter). Toscano was third at this event last season at 138 pounds, while Thonseng won the tournament at 152 pounds. Expect a barnburner of a match to occur if these two grapplers meet in the finals. Anthony Vargas (Central) is the other wrestler who competed at the state tournament. Keep an eye on James Wright (Clovis) and Sac-Joaquin Section place winner Aydan Ducharme (Vacaville) as the pair can do some damage this weekend.
In my humble opinion, the 150-weight class is probably the most loaded weight in the Golden State. A wrestler ranked top 10 in California who will compete this weekend is Max DelBosque (Clovis North). Despite only placing 7th in the tough central section, DelBosque managed to gather three consecutive wins at the state tournament and finish within a match of making it to the podium. Senior Noah Reynolds (Clovis) should challenge DelBosque and attempt to get a win after going 0-3 against him last season.
Two-time state place winner and Super 32 medalist, Leo Contino (Buchanan) is the huge favor at 157 pounds this weekend. He will try and recuperate himself this week and win the Shootout after having finished as the runner-up last season. Markez DelBosque (Clovis North) is a tough grappler who qualified for the state tournament in 2022 but was injured at the Shootout last year causing him to miss the entire 2022-23 season. Let’s hope he is 100% healthy and can have a successful year. Two seniors who have yet to place at state are Ayden Cortez (Clovis West) and Sam Chacon (Clovis) both won a match at the state tournament. Vacaville High has a senior (Carson Howell) competing in this weight class who will be looking to improve this season and qualify for state after placing 7th at the section tournament last year.
The favorite to win the 165-weight class this weekend would be two-time state-place winner Adrien Reyes of Clovis High. Only a junior, Reyes could eventually finish his scholastic career as a rare four-time state medalist. A feat that only a few wrestlers from California have ever done. Branson John (Buchanan) had a great Super 32 tournament that saw him finish 8th at 165 pounds. John is another Buchanan wrestler who has yet to crack the varsity lineup. Another solid wrestler in this weight class is Arjun Nagra of Vacaville High. Nagra is a two-time state qualifier who has finished top 12 at the state tournament on two occasions.
The University of Cal Poly got a great recruit in Joe Buck (Clovis). A versatile wrestler, Buck finished second at the section tournament and fifth in the state. He was solid for the Cougars last year as he placed at such prestigious events as Doc Buchanan, Zinkin, and was the champion of this event at 170 lbs. Jonathan Rocha (Buchanan) was one of the many superstars for the Bears last season. Only a sophomore, Rocha accomplished something that only elite wrestlers do, and that is to place at the state tournament as a freshman. He will be down this season after having placed sixth at state at 184 pounds. Jackson Cinfel (Clovis North) was a state qualifier who went 2-2 at the state tournament. Expect him to have a great season and attempt to win this event for the first time.
The University of Brown recruit Thomas Sandoval (Vacaville) and Clovis High Mark Marin will be the leaders of the pack at 190 pounds. Both are great athletes who have placed twice at the prestigious CIF state tournament. Keep an eye on SeanMichael Roberts out of Buchanan High who despite not being in the varsity lineup had a great 2022-23 season. He was 2-0 versus Ross Cinfel of Clovis North who finished 2-2 at the state tournament.
Yes, Alec Dansby (Buchanan) is down a weight class after having finished top 12 in the state in the heavyweight class. Super strong and fast for his body frame, Dansby could be a contender to be wrestling in the finals of CIF state in March. Kai Preisendorf (Redwood) is one of two wrestlers with state experience in this weight class, along with Clovis North Devin Alarcon.
A wrestler who failed to make the varsity lineup last year will be favored to win this event at 275lb. That wrestler is Bryson Harrington (Buchanan). Harrington has had great success on the national stage as he was a 2023 NHSCA All-American and a finalist of the 2022 16U Folkstyle Nationals. Nevertheless, it won’t be a cakewalk as he will probably face two-time state qualifier Joseph Chacon of host school Clovis West in the finals. Chacon had an interesting 2022-23 season as he finished 8th at master’s and top 12 at state.
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