2023 Zinkin Classic: Preview

Those in the California know know that DOC B is the pinnacle tournament, the crown jewel of the Golden State.  And then a group of about five tournaments can make reasonable arguments they are the next best thingt.  On a year-to-year basis Five Counties, Temecula, LCC’s Hamada, and the LA TOC all take turns as the “next best”. However, we’d say that the Zinkin Classic year in and year out, typically is that next level invite.  And the reason is quite simple, you get basically the entire Central Valley, and all of Buchanan’s and Clovis High kids in the brackets.  

Year after year, this tournament serves as the “de facto” wrestle off for the most storied programs in California.  This year will be no different.  Buchanan, ranked #1 in the State, is still regarded as the premier program and the favorite to Win an 8th title in 8 tries.  But this is also the most vulnerable this team has been in years.  They have 0 returning State Champions and several holes that will need to be addressed. Additionally, Gilroy, St. John Bosco, and Poway all have multiple top ranked kids that can cause complete chaos at the state meet. So back to the Zinkin. Buchanan should win the tourney, and the results will likely determine who we will see in Bakersfield, late February. 

106 lbs

This weight class is absolutely loaded.  There could be 10 of the top 12 kids in the state per the CA Ranker. Leading the pack: Birmingham sophomore Henry Aslikyan. He will be the #1 seed. We will also see the season debut of Buchanan wrestler Blake Woodward at this weight class. Standout Freshman Anthony Garza of Clovis High could be the #3 seed. However, as a Freshman, we get him in the #8 spot. Add an additional six State Qualifiers into this bracket! Fireworks will start in the round of 16.

113 lbs

Let’s start with Rocklin Zinkin, Buchanan #1 seed, Thunder Lewis Clovis High #2 seed, sound familiar? These two tangled five times last season with many of those matchups listed as “instant classics”. The 3 seed should be Sacramento area sophomore Siray Sidhu.  This Del Oro (Newcastle) wrestler is coming off a 5th place finish at the state meet.  Add in, seven additional wrestlers ranked in the top 15 in the state of California. Did we say the Fireworks will start in the round of 16? Yes, we did. We said it for 106 and we say it again for 113.

120 lbs

#5 ranked CJ Huerta, Buchanan, placed third at the State Meet last season. The sophomore returns and is undefeated on this young season.  #2 seed will be Golden West’s Caleb Rivas and Elk Grove Senior Octavio Negrete will come in as the #3 seed. Eight of the top 10 seeds are from the Central Valley. This tourney will shape the preliminary pecking order in the Central Valley. 

126 lbs

Defending champion Nikade Zinkin Clovis will lead the field.  Currently ranked #2 in State, he will be challenged by returning State placer Mason Carillo Royal HS.  Buchanan’s Ashton Besmer, currently #6 in the State, and a defending Zinkin champion, will be in as the #3 seed, coming off an impressive win down south at the “Hamada Classic”. Get this: an additional six ranked wrestlers in the state of CA top 16 will be in the field. Did we say the Fireworks will start in the round of 16? Yes, because it’s a recurring theme!

132 lbs

Tournament high Fifty-Five wrestlers registered.  Jacob Perez Monache will be the #1 seed.  Then complete top 20 chaos.  Paris Ruiz of Buchanan will be the #2 seed. He owns a win over Fargo Champion Leo Maestas.  Remember those wrestle off’s, Buchanan will enter two other wrestlers, each on their own merit would be top 15 in the State or better.  Led by Post Season Nationals All American Anthony Harris. How about Ivan Arias who was last seen at Super 32, 4-2 overall.  Adding to the intrigue will be Clovis West wrestle offs with Jeff Lopez and above mentioned Maestas.  Eli Granada of Clovis gave Elijah Cortez a battle just last week. Returning State qualifier Josh Requena of Camarillo in the field, the Round of 16 will be tough to navigate. Dare we say, fireworks?

138 lbs

This class will be led by returning State Finalist Gavin Bauder of Buchanan. He is undefeated this year and is the #1 seed.  Aiden Simmons of Bakersfield returning State placer and he is undefeated; he comes in at the #2 seed. They will be challenged by two-time returning State Medalist Thomas Thongseng of Exeter. This weight will include two standout entries from Clovis High (#4 Wyatt Lewis and #6 Raymond Rivera). Top ten seeds are from the Central Section. 

144 lbs

#1 Seed will be returning State Finalist Joseph Toscano. He has majored or pinned everyone this season at 13-0.  Hercules Windrath Fountain Valley this Cal Poly commit is undefeated and will be the #2 seed. Slava Shahbazyan of Chaminade is undefeated and the #3 seed.  Add in #7 Ranked Jagger French of Del Oro also undefeated and #8 James Wright Clovis who is undefeated.  Four other top 20 ranked wrestlers in the bracket.  Fun will start in the round of 16. 

150 lbs

By far the most wide-open bracket of the tournament.  Seeds appear to represent the Southern Section, San Joaquin Section and of course the Central Section.  However, our #1 Seed is North Coast’s Jayson Victoria of Granada High School.  Based on body of work this year, #3 seed Noah Reynolds Clovis would appear to be the favorite.  The field of 53 wrestlers also includes #2 seed Max Delbosque Clovis North, Christian Herrera Bakersfield and Jaxtyn Frost Buchanan who should all be in the mix.  Also, Jacob Belden San Clemente and Sean Otero Norwalk will represent the Southern Section.  

157 lbs

At this weight we can expect to see State #1 Beau Priest of Bakersfield and Buchanan’s #3 ranked Leo Contino on a collision course to a spotlight match.  They are the #1 and #2 seed and both wrestlers carry impressive National level credentials.  Markez Delbosque Clovis North will also challenge the field of 50 wrestlers. 

165 lbs   

Austin Simmons of Bakersfield will lead the field as the #1 seed.  The Bakersfield High native has won the Rumble at the Rig and is a two-time State Qualifier.  Colorado Mesa commit Christian Peebley of Ponderosa is also a two-time State Qualifier will be the #2 seed.  Several Central Valley wrestlers make up the top 8 seeds.

175 lbs

Joe Buck Clovis will lead the field as the #1 seed. Buck just picked up a huge CA win over Dylan Pile.  He is followed by future teammate and Cal Poly commit, Jake Honey of Bakersfield.  Primo Catalano Chaminade Prep is the #3 seed.  Catalano is committed to West Point.  Returning State qualifiers Jackson Cinfel Clovis North, and Logan Bruce of Carrillo High add depth to this field.  

190 lbs

Sean Michael Roberts Buchanan ranked #5 in the State, will be the #1 seed.  He recently won the Hamada Invite down in San Diego.  Challenging him will be Sonny Acuna Northview, a returning state qualifier. Ross Cinfel Clovis North, also a returning state qualifier ranked #14 in the State will also be in the bracket and Sacramento area standout Grant Anderson Jesuit returning state qualifier ranked #18 in the State will be the four seed.  Dylan Henry San Clemente #40 in the State is the #5 seed, he was runner up at Hamada losing a close match in the finals to Roberts.

215 lbs

#3 ranked Michael Murillo Bakersfield is the #1 seed.  He already has top 10 wins over Buchanan’s (5) Alec Dansby and Clovis Highs Mark Marin.  Southern California’s Ryland Whitworth of Fountain Valley High School will be opposite as the #2 seed.  The West Point commit is a two-time State Placer and is ranked #4 overall, this matchup would be another spotlight match full of intrigue.  Nonetheless four other top 10 kids are in the bracket including Marin, Angel Cervantes Highland, Dominic Wilson Tulare, and Hamada Champion Alec Dansby Buchanan.

285 lbs

#3 ranked Bryson Harrington Buchanan is undefeated this season with tournament wins at Clovis West Shootout and at the Hamada Classic.  However, his signature win may be over #4 ranked Adam Stanley of Bakersfield.  If seeds hold, we will see a rematch of their 8-6 classic.   Undefeated and #9 ranked Gary Avila comes in at the #3 spot and will be formidable in this bracket of 54 wrestlers.

Team Race

Buchanan should win the tournament as they have point scorers in every weight class.  However, the nature of this tournament with awkward matchups and b wrestlers upsetting seeds always throws a monkey wrench into typical scoring. With that said, Buchanan should get 10 in the finals.  Clovis High and Bakersfield should round out the top three.  

Meet Todd Wightman

Based in Western PA. Right in the heart of WPIAL country, Todd brings an insider’s view from the country’s epicenter  of wrestling. He’s excited to build on the TKDWN tradition of starting with the story first. The athletes, the coaches, their families and supporters, there is no shortage of stories to tell. And Todd will bring his unique perspective to help us continue to deliver top notch content for the world’s greatest sport!