Buchanan at Clovis Preview

Weight Buchanan Clovis Season Head To Head Winner Team Points Running Team Score Predicted Final Score
106Blake Woodward CA #4Anthony Garza CA #3Garza 2-0 Garza 10-4 Woodward 5-1GarzaClovis 3Clovis 3Buchanan 33 Clovis 21
113#11 Rocklin Zinkin CA #3Thunder Lewis CA #9 noneZinkinBuchanan 3Buchanan 3
120Christopher Huerta CA #6Simon Cervantes CA #14noneHuertaBuchanan 3Buchanan 6
126Ashton Besmer CA #6#15 Nikade Zinkin CA #2Besmer 4-3ZinkinClovis 3Clovis 6
132Paris Ruiz CA #11 Anthony Harris CA #11Eli Granada CA #13Ruiz vs Granada = none Harris vs Granada = Granada 1-0RuizBuchanan3Buchanan 9
138Gavin Bauder CA #3Wyatt Lewis CA #7Bauder 8-5BauderBuchanan 3Buchanan 12
144#7 Joseph Toscano CA #1James Wright CA #20noneToscanoBuchanan 6Buchanan 18
150Jaxtyn Frost CA #10Noah Reynolds CA #6noneReynoldsClovis 3Clovis 9
157#14 Leo Contino CA #3Samuel Chacon CA #18Contino 2:44ContinoBuchanan 6Buchanan 24
165#22 Branson John CA #4Adrien Reyes CA #5John 1-0ReyesClovis 3Clovis 12
175Brock Kitchen CA #14Joseph Buck CA #3noneBuckClovis 6Clovis 18
190Sean-Mitchel Roberts CA #9Mark Marin CA #8Sean-Michael Roberts vs Marin = none Dansby vs Marin = Marin 7-2MarinClovis 3Clovis 21
215Alec Dansby CA #6Noah Martinez CA #16Dansby vs Marin = Marin 7-2 Martinez 6-2 Dansby 5-1DansbyBuchanan 3Buchanan 27
285Byson Harrington CA #3Jordan Gonzales CA #32Harrington 13-4HarringtonBuchanan 6Buchanan 33

In the state of CA, there is no bigger dual event than The Big One. The Buchanan and Clovis rivalry is one that you must mark your calendars for every season – presuming you’re a wrestling fan. And if you’re not one, we want you to become one, so this might be the single high school event I’d have you watch. To bring you on board. The only downside to this being your first wrestling rodeo is that no other dual, or even tournament, around the country lives up to the production in any way, shape or form. The Doc B tournament (hosted by Clovis) comes close, in terms of the way they do the finals. No other major tournament runs its finals in the same way. To their detriment and Doc B’s advantage. Similarly, nobody else does a dual like these Clovis schools do their rivalry. And so for that reason it is both the one event to bring new folks on board and also the one to set unreasonable expectations of what all duals are like.

But we like to stick to the positive and the positive says that this is one to tune into and this year it should be a pretty competitive back and forth between these two. While Buchanan is a deserving favorite coming in, it’s not by as much as they have been in the past, and not as much as you might think. So I’ll give you my prediction based on the most likely line ups for each team referring to state ranking, and what weight kids were at for Doc B. But I’ll also give you my best attempt at a Clovis upset. If there’s one thing I love, it’s an upset. Heck, how do you think I won that NFL pool? Upsets, baby!

The good thing for us with a rivalry like this is that we have a lot of history between many of the wrestlers, including head to heads from this season. I would guess that’s not as good for the wrestlers themselves who may want new competition. But their loss is our gain. 

I’ll start with the weights where they have already wrestled and move from there. There have been 9 total matches between kids currently slotted to face each other. In those 9, Buchanan has won 7. Three of those were the same match (106) three times. In that match up, Garza won twice, but the first two. Woodward has won the most recent between them, at Doc B. I expect Garza to come out fired up in front of the Cougar faithful and get back on the winning side in this one.

At 126, Besmer got the better of Zinkin at Buchanan’s Zinkin Classic but that’s one of the earliest tournaments of the season. Early enough that a lot has happened since then. Like Nikade finishing 2nd at Doc B and Besmer not placing. That’s why Nikade carries the national ranking and Besmer once did but has since dropped out. None of this is to say Besmer can’t (or won’t) beat him again here. But now it’s in the rivalry dual. In Zinkin’s home gym. This is one of the main event weights so to speak.

At 132, Buchanan has two possible state medalists. Paris Ruiz just won 5 Counties, picking up a pair of nationally ranked wins. But Ruiz also has a loss to his teammate Harris 2-1 at Zinkin. But it was Ruiz who went to the HOF duals and Ruiz who placed at Doc B. Harris lost to Granada there. So that’s the current head to head. Granada over Harris 1-0. Based on the most recent results, I’m guessing they go with Ruiz here but who knows in duals. Either way, Ruiz is the most up and down but appears to have the highest upside of all 3. Coming off the 5 Counties performance, I think he gets it done here too.

Bauder has been on the national radar for some time. He’s currently in that next 25, top 40, range. He has the results – CA state runner up – to support that, but hasn’t put together the string of wins against top out of state guys to sustain a higher ranking. Lewis is a promising freshman and as we know they can be wholly unpredictable. If he could somehow flip this from an earlier 8-5 defeat, that would be massive for the Cougars chances. There’s nothing on paper to back up a Lewis prediction (the head to head, common opponent in Hercules Windrath (Bauder beat him, he beat Lewis)) but wrestling doesn’t happen on paper and stranger things have happened. I’ve seen the show.

Contino pinned Chacon already and, along with teammate Joseph Toscano, is the biggest favorite in this dual. My guess is he does it again.

If we do get to see John vs Reyes at 165, that will be the main event. For strategic purposes, we could get this in any number of positions in the dual. For fan purposes, this should probably be last. They wrestled once (John winning 1-0) at Doc B. I expect nothing less than that close again. Going Reyes just because he’s at home.

Dansby has had his fill of Clovis opponents this season. Already facing Marin once and Martinez twice. Assuming it’s Martinez tonight, he’ll look to make it two in a row. They’ve split the first two meetings with Dansby winning most recently. This is a true toss up. Though I do lean Dansby.

Harrington has definitely solidified his spot in the state’s top 5 at heavyweight, and actually as we sit here right now, is firmly at #3 having separated a bit from the rest behind him. But as we look at heavyweight in the state this season, 3rd is more than respectable. And it means he’s a heavy (get it?) favorite here. He’s already majored Gonzales once, I would actually expect a pin here.

So those were the matches that we’ve already seen and how I think they go.

As for the others, we may not have got a Zinkin Lewis match yet, but we got plenty last year. I believe Zinkin was like 4-1 against him. But Lewis was the only CA wrestler to beat Rocklin during the season. Zinkin would otherwise go undefeated in the state, all the way until the state finals. This all means that we should expect a Zinkin win but not be surprised at all by a reversal of fortune in this first 2024 meeting between them.

Huerta and Toscano have to be considered pretty strong favorites for the Bears. Toscano in particular is probably the biggest of the 14 weights.

If the first meeting between Frost and Reynolds is the weight that turns the dual, I’d be surprised because that would mean a few of the other weights tilted toward Buchanan went to Clovis. But if Clovis does get some of those in their favor, this does become possibly the match of the dual. Adding to the toss up nature of this one, they were both at Doc B. Reynolds placed 8th and Frost was 3-2. But they both lost to the same wrestlers there and both beat Brody Kelly of IC Catholic. So the placement gap doesn’t give us much. I’ll favor Reynolds as I typically do in these home duals.

Kitchen vs Buck brings us to one of the clear Clovis advantages. Of course you can’t count anyone out of anything, in this sport in particular, but just looking at Doc B, Buck beat the same opponent twice – en route to a 4th place finish – that Kitchen lost to (going 1-2 that weekend).

Roberts and Marin haven’t wrestled each other this season but Marin does have a win over Alec Dansby. I don’t know if that gives us a real insight into this one but Marin does have a 5th and 6th place finish in the state and some impressive national performances (3rd at Super 32 in 2022). But this is a likely battle to reach the podium in Bakersfield and Roberts could be on an ascent within the state. I have to favor Marin being at home (seems to be a recurring theme, I know). But it could go any which way frankly.

I think we have to look at this as there being five clear expected winners coming in. Four of those five are on Buchanan. If they can run up the team points to 24-3 or 24-6 in those 5 matches, it becomes almost impossible for Clovis to win this. They would have to make up at a minimum, 18 points in 9 toss ups. If we assume decisions across the board, that’s a maximum 27-0. For every match out of this group Buchanan wins, it’s a 6 point change. 27-0 quickly becomes 24-3, 21-6. And even at 21-6 (which would be 7-2), it’s not enough to overcome 18 points. This is the math that tells us, even in a season where there is a possible new team state champion, Buchanan is still a powerful foe.

How does Clovis pull this off? Well, the easiest thing would be to prevent any falls. If that 24-3 becomes 12-6, then the remaining 9 toss ups become easier to manage. They would still have to win 6 of them but that seems more doable.

The other thing they can do is run through line up permutations and having better knowledge of weights and performance than I do from the outside, they may see an advantage somewhere. Or maybe it’s a place that they can go from a possible net -6 to net -3. Those things ebb and flow as the night wears on.

When it comes to California, very few teams can keep a dual with Buchanan competitive. Poway, Gilroy, and then you’d have to say Clovis. And being their biggest rival, you might give them a slight boost. Then the spectacle of it, being in their gym, and you might see a tighter match than the rankings and results to date would have you believe.

For example, if they start at 106, Garza gets the win. Lewis gets the win over Zinkin (which he’s done before). Cervantes pushes Huerta into OT, maybe even wins that one. Nikade keeps his tear up. And then Lewis riding this momentum flips the Bauder result. I’m not calling for this but it’s absolutely on the table.

In the end, what we know is that both teams are as familiar with each other as it gets. They’re well coached and are used to the big stage. And when it comes to duals around the country, this is the single one I would encourage folks to watch. Because no matter what happens, it’ll be a great show.

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