2019 Mid-Cals Tournament Preview
The likely front-runner is freshman Andre Gonzales (Poway), who during December finished seventh at the nationally recognized Walsh Jesuit Ironman tournament. Hoping to challenge Gonzales is sophomore Ashton Grounds (Tuttle) who was third at the Oklahoma state tournament. Both could have their hands full with Clovis West Laz Maldonado. Maldonado is a former Fargo All-American and will be competing in his first tournament of the season as he was out most of the year. Two wrestlers that have shown that they could hang with anyone in the state are underclassmen Raymond Lopez (Buchanan) and Ryan Luna (St. Francis). Both wrestlers placed at Doc Buchanan. Lopez was sixth while Luna was eighth. Others who will be in contention for medals include Noah Arsito (Clovis North), Calvin Antonio (Evergreen Valley), Isaiah Marrujo (Cleveland, New Mexico), Matthew Terrence (Clovis), and Josh Acala (Frontier).
Two out-of-state wrestlers could meet in the finals of this weight class - they are Tristan Mascarenas (Cleveland) and Garrett Steidley (Tuttle). Mascarenas is a New Mexico state champion and was a USAW Preseason Nationals All-American in October. Steidley is up a weight class after having won an Oklahoma state championship at 106. He competed at Mid-Cals last year where he finished as the runner-up. Another viable contender for Mid-Cals at this weight class is Jayden Gomez (Gilroy). Gomez was fifth at the California state tournament in 2018, and he recently placed second at Five Counties. Justin Mouritsen (Clovis) is a California state place winner as he was fourth at 106 in 2018. He will compete for the third time this season as he was injured during the Clovis West Shootout and has seen limited action this season. Poway’s Brock Bobzien is only a freshman that had a good showing at the Chicago Beat the Streets Duals as he finished 3-1 with his lone loss being to the No. 17 ranked wrestler in the country Nick Kayal of Bergen Catholic, 8-5. Returning state qualifier Adrian Chavez (Central), Battle for the Belt runner-up Michael Gioffre (Buchanan), and Mid-Cals place winner Zak Thompson (Palma) will be in contention to medal.
Nationally ranked wrestler Brandon Paulson (Clovis) leads the way in this weight class. Ranked No. 16 by FloWrestling, Paulson is a Cal Baptist commit who will attempt to seize a Mid-Cal championship and help Clovis High in the team race. Two wrestlers that placed at Mid-Cals last season and are hoping to capture the event this year are Carson Sauriol (Poway) and Richard Castro-Sandoval (Santa Ynez Valley Union). Sauriol is back on the Poway lineup as he lost his spot last season to Jason Miranda, the 2018 Mid-Cals champion at 113. Nevertheless, Sauriol placed fifth at this event by defeating Castro-Sandoval in the bout, 4-2. Castro-Sandoval was a state qualifier last year and has been consistent all season long. Don’t overlook Cadet Folkstyle All-American Kyler Lake who is a freshman for Buchanan. Lake is coming from placing third at Battle for the Belt in an extremely loaded weight class. Others who will vie for medal contention include Matthew Arias (Selma), Donte Lopez (Gilroy), James Murphy (Central), and Mateo Sandez (Dela Salle).
Leading the way at 126 is California state place winner Jason Miranda of Poway. Just a junior, Miranda is currently ranked No. 12 in the country and No. 3 in California. Miranda was a champion of this event as he won the 113-weight class with ease. Looking to prevent Miranda from capturing a second career Mid-Cal championship are a trio of returning California state placers that includes Frontier’s Cole Reyes, Buchanan’s Hunter Leake, and Freedom’s Dakota Unpingco. Reyes is a two-time returning California state placer and three-time state qualifier. Leake was a state placer last season at 106 pounds, and he appears to be handling the jump to 126 better than many have in the past. He recently placed third at Battle for the Belt in a loaded weight class. Unpingco was eighth in the state but is having a roller coaster of a season with some unexpected results at the Zinkin Classic and the Tim Brown Invitational. Don’t overlook Eric Rivera (Selma) who is a three-time state qualifier and was third in the state as a freshman. He is coming off from defeating Leake (5-4) in a dual meet on Tuesday. A sophomore standout who was unable to compete in last year’s postseason as he was a backup for the Mustangs is Victor Jacinto. Jacinto has the skill set to medal at Mid-Cals. Other wrestlers vying for a championship title include Five Counties runner-up is Raul Valdovinos (Clovis West), who owns a 6-5 win over Jacinto, state qualifier Riley Hilt (Dela Salle), and Dallas Stevens (Gridley).
The 132-weight class is wide open for any wrestler to win it that is having a great weekend. The No. 1 seed is Oklahoma state champion Ryder Ramsey (Tuttle). Ramsey comes into the tournament undefeated on the season and was sixth at this event last year at 126. Right behind Ramsey is two-time state qualifier Jose “Jr” Fernandez (Upper Lake). Though Fernandez has never placed at the state meet, his talent is undeniable. He proved that at Doc Buchanan as he knocked out state finalist Ryan Franco (Clovis North) in the quarterfinal round. Clovis Giano Petrucelli has made it clear that he too is a realistic contender to take a championship title back home. He is a two-time state place winner and last week he won a championship belt at the Pitman Rumble Invitational. Sophomore Cade Lucio (Bakersfield) is a state qualifier who miss standing on the podium by a match. He is coming off from placing third at Battle for the Belt where he defeated Garrett Fletcher (Frontier) 3-1 SV-1 in the third-place bout. Fletcher is a two-time state qualifier for the Titans. Keep an eye on Josiah Monjares (Las Lomas) who defeated Lucio (6-3) at the Doc Buchanan tournament. He will be the dark horse of the tournament. Others to watch include Rocky Raby (West Valley), Zane Stoddard (Poway), and Noah Castro (Gilroy).
The clear favorite at this weight class is Michigan State signee Chase Saldate of Gilroy High. Saldate has been on a tear all season long by placing at Walsh Jesuit Ironman and winning Doc Buchanan and Five Counties. Given his credentials, Saldate should acquire his first Mid-Cals championship this weekend after having placed second last year. However, don’t underestimate Tyler Dean of Buchanan. Dean is a two-time state place winner and is a former Fargo Junior Freestyle All-American. Others who hope to make a run at the finals include Doc Buchanan place winner Andrew Bloemhof (Bakersfield), three-time state qualifier Ryan Morphis (Frontier), and Oklahoma state qualifier Bryce Dauphin (Tuttle). Buchanan’s second entry is George Ruiz. Ruiz has been solid for the Bears by placing third at El Cajon and the Zinkin Classic. Other competitors with notable achievements include James Ost (Fremont – Sunnyvale), Jacob Vale (Poway), and Jonah Nascimento (Lowell).
Stanford commit Dawson Sihavong (Bullard) returns to the tournament anxiously waiting to claim a second Mid-Cal championship after doing so last year at 138. A two-time state place winner, Sihavong was triumphant over the summer in being a Fargo Junior Greco-Roman finalist. Standing on his way will be John Fox (Gilroy). Fox is a two-time Central Coast champion and comes from a great wrestling family as both of his elder brothers Willie and Paul were former California state champions. Don’t overlook Tuttle’s Brady Dearmond who was third at the Oklahoma state tournament and placed fourth at this tournament in this weight class. Keep an eye on sensational freshman Joseph Martin of Buchanan. The freshman is as tough as they come and he has boasted some impressive victories this year, as well as an appearance on the podium at Doc Buchanan. Others to watch at this weight are Nevada state placer Kai Ward of McQueen and two-time state qualifier Jose Landin of Frontier.
This weight class could be a two-man battle between two wrestlers who are ranked in the country. No. 14 Luke Surber of Tuttle, Oklahoma, is a two-time Mid-Cals place winner as he has placed fifth and third in the tournament. Last year as a sophomore, he placed second at the state tournament after having finished as the champion as a freshman. Poway’s Aaron Gandara will challenge him. Gandara is ranked No. 17 in the country, and he is a former Arizona state champion. Gandara has been solid for the Green Mean Machine as he has placed at Walsh Jesuit Ironman, Reno TOC, and the Doc Buchanan tournament. A wrestler hoping to derail the Surber-Gandara match is Gilroy’s, Daniel Vizcarra. Vizcarra is a two-time state qualifier and has the skills and potential to become a champion this weekend. Keep an eye on Max Anderson of Clovis who is a California state place winner. He had a close match with Vizcarra as he lost a 3-2 in the third-place bout at the Zinkin Classic. Other wrestlers to watch include state qualifiers Alfredo Mendoza (Salinas) and Adrian Gonzalez (Bakersfield), as well as Reymundo Raiz (Buchanan) who was seventh at Battle for the Belt tournament.
The clear-cut favorite at this weight class is the fifth-ranked wrestler in the country Matthew Olguin of Buchanan. Olguin was a state champion as a freshman and has never finished lower than 3rd at the state meet. He has yet to lose this season as he has been dominant in claiming titles at the Zinkin Classic, Doc Buchanan, and Battle for the Belt. A junior who has been looking solid in the past two events Poway has attended is Alex Hernandez. Hernandez was the lone undefeated wrestler for the Titans at Chicago Beat the Streets. He is a former Alaska state place winner as he was sixth in the 4A class as a freshman. Both should be sure not to look past Central Coast section champion Nathan Villareal of Gilroy. Villareal comes from a wrestling family as his older brother (Nikko) was a three-time state champion and competes for Arizona State. Also, Marcos Jimenez (Evergreen Valley) was a Central Coast runner-up and finished whiting a match from gathering All-State honors last year. Others to watch include Reid Sherwood (Clovis North), Rope Harrison (Cleveland, New Mexico), Kurt Brophy (Carmel), and Jaden Sanchez (Bakersfield).
The No. 3 ranked wrestler in the country Dustin Plott of Tuttle is expected to run away with the championship medal and earn the second Mid-Cal tournament title of his career. An Oklahoma State recruit, he made the 74kg UWW Junior finals last April at the U.S. Open, and then followed that up by going undefeated at Junior Duals. Plott finished up his freestyle season by making the Junior Fargo finals and placing second in the event. Jarad Priest (Bakersfield) will look to dethrone Plott as the king of this weight class. A state qualifier, Priest, owns wins over state medal winners Mark Cardwell (Monache) and Daniel long (Dinuba). His style of wrestling makes him a dangerous individual to face on the mat. Toss in Buchanan’s Rocco Contino, who was a Doc Buchanan and Battle for the Belt place winner, along with state qualifier Ivan Hernandez of Poway, and two-time state placer Joe Barnes of Gilroy, and you have a very competitive weight class.
If Frontier’s Trent Tracy can compete this weekend, then he is the man to beat at 182. Tracy is a returning California state champion but has seen limited action this season. Condition could be a factor with him. Hoping to get a matchup with Tracy is Tyler Gianakopulos of Clovis. Gianakopulos has his list of impressive accomplishments including an appearance on the podium at the Zinkin Classic and the Doc Buchanan tournament. If Tracy is unable to compete, look at Gianakopulos to take on the role of favorite. Doc Buchanan place winner Felipe Rodriguez of Clovis West may have something to say about that. Also looking to compete for a final’s appearance could be sophomore Carsten Rawls (St. Francis). Rawls is an NHSCA Freshman All-American and was a place winner at Battle for the Belt. Others who will compete for medals include returning state qualifier Jordan Annis of Bakersfield, J.D Peralta of Buchanan, Kavan Guffey of Tuttle, and Rudy Garcia of Selma.
Three wrestlers with excellent credentials lead the way in this weight class. Ryan Reyes of Gilroy is a two-time state placer currently ranked No. 6 in the country. He is a Fresno State signee and has stepped on the podium at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman, Doc Buchanan, and Five Counties tournaments. Tuttle’s Carson Berryhill is a returning Mid-Cals champion at 170. He was untouched in competition as he claimed the tournament last year. He was a state champion as a sophomore but finished as the runner-up last season. Jadon Martin of Buchanan narrowly missed a medal at last year’s state meet. Martin has demonstrated a steady consistency that was capped by a medal at the Doc Buchanan and the highly touted Battle for the Bet tournament. Others who will be in contention for medals include returning state qualifiers Gabe Garcia (Cleveland, New Mexico) and Robert Ochoa (Gonzales), Battle for the Belt fourth-place finisher Ty Shepherd (Frontier), and Laith Gilmore (Poway).
2018 state place winner Justin Darter of Bakersfield leads the weight at 220. He was a place winner at Doc Buchanan and is coming off from claiming a belt at the Battle for the Belt tournament. Andrew Rasmussen (Faith Baptist) will look to challenge Darter for the championship title. A state qualifier last season, Rasmussen was a match shy from standing on the podium at state. Senior Branden Cardwell (Buchanan) has yet to advance to the state tournament. Nevertheless, he has been steady for the Bears as he has placed at Zinkin and Battle for the Belt. North Coast Section Champion Tyler Winslow (Sonoma Valley) will make his season debut at Mid-Cals. He is coming off from an injury that prohibited him from competing until now. We shall see if condition plays a factor this weekend. Others to watch include two-time New Mexico state place winner Dion Hunter (Cleveland), state qualifier Mateo Morales (Clovis West), and Charles Geffroy (Poway).
We should see a great match occur at this weight class as two wrestlers ranked top five in the golden state could meet up and help their teams attempt to win this event. Leading the way is nationally ranked wrestler Nicholas Villareal of Gilroy. Villareal has been consistent all year for the Mustangs by placing at Ironman, Doc Buchanan, and winning the Zinkin Classic and Five Counties. He is up a weight class as he was the runner-up in this event last year at 220. Andrew Johnson (Poway) is a San Diego Section Champion and one of the leaders for the Titans. He was successful in Placing seventh at Ironman and third at Reno TOC. 2018 Central Coast place winner Cohle Feliciano (Fremont) will be in the mix as well. He finished last year in the blood round of the state tournament. State qualifier Josiah Hill (Bakersfield) is the dark horse of this weight class as he is coming off from claiming the Battle for the Belt tournament. Others who could surprise the field include Colin Naney (Tuttle), Tommy Slatic (Bullard), Jacob Lightner (Kern Valley), and Michael Wiley (Los Gatos).