This weekend the team race will be an interesting one with # 2 Poway, # 3 St. John Bosco, # 5 Gilroy, # 6 Clovis North, # 8 Bakersfield and # 11 Temecula Valley all in attendance. Poway is coming off from winning the Smash Duals where they finished 5-0 in dual-meet competition while overpowering the competition 411-0. Bosco was second at the Cossarek invitational without the aid of Maximus Martinez (106), Isaac Salas (138) and Sonny Santiago (152). Clovis North won the 56th Annual Larry Nelson Classic, while Bakersfield High and Temecula Valley High were second and fourth at the Rumble for the Rig tournament. This event will show us a preview of the CIF state tournament with such teams in attendance.
Who will come out on top at 152-pounds?
The 152-pound weight class is going to be loaded this weekend with # 1 Sonny Santiago (St. John Bosco), # 2 Chase Saldate (Gilroy), # 4 Aaron Gandara (Poway), # 5 Luka Wick (San Marino), and # 8 Cade Lucio (Bakersfield). Plus, we can forget all the other caliber wrestlers from other states. This tournament should have some serious national ranking implications as five wrestlers previously mentioned have the capability to walk away as Reno TOC champions. All but Santiago have won individual tournaments this season and are battle-tested. We should expect to see the rankings be rearranged after this tournament is done.
Sonny’s first competition of the season
The Reno Tournament of Champion event will be the first competition of the season for the # 1 ranked wrestler in the country in St. John Bosco’s Sonny Santiago. He impressed the viewers at the Who’s # 1 wrestling event run by Flo Wrestling when he took out Travis Mastrogiovanni (Blair, N.J.) in a wild match. The incoming Tarheel has displayed great technique and mat awareness that will surely help him once he begins competing at the next level. He will have a target on his back as every foe at 152-pounds will be trying to knock him out and make a name for themselves in the national scene.
Seven No. 1 expected to compete this weekend
A total of seven wrestlers from California who are ranked # 1 in their respective weight classes are expected to compete this weekend. They are double Fargo National Champion Andres Gonzales (Poway), Ryan Franco (Clovis North), Sonny Santiago (St. John Bosco), Cael Valencia (St. John Bosco), Nathan Haas (St. John Bosco), Guillermo Escobedo (Los Altos), and Nicholas Villareal (Gilroy). If all wrestle to their potential at the event, we could be seeing a lot of California grapplers in the finals as they will attempt to bring back individual titles to the golden state.
Cael Valencia will look to extend his dominance at a new weight class
Up at 160 pounds, the CIF state runner-up Valencia will attempt to win his first state title in a new weight class and look to put together an undefeated season for his junior season. Last year’s 160-pound finalists Matthew Olguin and Noah Blake are gone and are competing in the college level, meaning this could be Valencia’s weight to own. He'll face his first big test this weekend as his previous two tournaments he has earned bonus points in all bouts. Valencia is expected to roll through the weight this year and dominate all of his opponents just as he did during the pre-season. He has the potential to become the third Valencia brother to win a CIF State title in February.