With such teams as Buchanan, Clovis, Clovis North, Frontier, and Selma, the Central Section Division I tournament has become the most rugged postseason tournament prior to the state. At any given moment, one could see potential state placement matches taking place in various mats throughout the Clovis North high school gymnasium. The following is a recap of some of the five upsets over the weekend at this tough two-day tournament.
Jacob Rivera of Selma, 120lbs
Junior Jacob Rivera of Selma is a wrestler that is having a tremendous second half of the season for the Bears. After winning Five Counties and upsetting 2018 state place winner Hunter Leake of Buchanan 6-5 in a dual meet during the regular season, Rivera kept the momentum going during the postseason by placing third at the tournament and defeating some outstanding wrestlers along the way. After losing to the eventual champion Maximo Renteria of Buchanan in the semifinal round, Rivera defeated state qualifier Jesse Gayton of Lemoore (5-4) and then upset the No. 3 wrestler in California in Brandon Paulson of Clovis, 11-3 in the third-place bout. Down 7-6 versus Paulson with seconds left on the match, Rivera was able to reverse and earn near fall points to win the match and help Selma High place sixth in the team standings.
Raul Valdovinos of Clovis West, 126lbs
Competing in the rugged Tri-River Athletic Conference league (TRAC) and qualifying to the state tournament as a freshman is no easy task in the sport of wrestling. Nevertheless, Raul Valdovinos of Clovis West was triumphant in doing so and could be doing it again this year as a sophomore after placing fourth at this tournament over the weekend. As the No. 5 seed, Valdovinos was successful in defeating Hunter Leake of Buchanan 5-3 with a late takedown in the third period to advance to the semifinal round. Prior to their meeting, Valdovinos was 0-2 against Leake. Valdovinos went on to lose to the eventual champion Devan Murphy of Clovis North but rebounded back by placing fourth and advancing to the masters meet tournament.
Dawson Sihavong of Bullard. 145lbs
This is not so much as an upset but redemption for two-time state place winner Dawson Sihavong of Bullard. After having been upset by freshman Joseph Martin of Buchanan in the semifinal round of Mid-Cals, Sihavong redeemed himself at this tournament as he won the event by earning an 11-3 major decision over Martin in the finals. With the win, Sihavong won all his matches via bonus point to help Bullard High finish eighth in the team standings. Sihavong should enter the masters meet tournament as the favorite to win it all after having placed second and fifth the previous two seasons.
Rocco Contino of Buchanan, 170lbs
Rocco Contino had a great tournament over the weekend that saw him get a tremendous upset in the semifinal round over the No. 2 wrestler in the state in Christian Rodriguez of Selma. Contino was able to get the fall over Rodriguez in 5:23 of their championship round to advance to the final round of the Central Section Division I Championships. At one point in the match, Contino was up 7-1 before getting the fall. In the finals, Contino lost a close 7-4 match to 2018 state place winner Daniel Long of Dinuba High. With his help and the rest of his teammates, Buchanan High was triumphant in winning the tournament with ease over TRAC opponent Clovis High who finished as the runners-up.
Mateo Morales of Clovis West, 220lbs
As the No. 3 seed in the tournament, Morales knew that the only wait to advance to the finals was to defeat No. 2 Justin Darter of Bakersfield in the semifinal round. Morales was not sure if he could make that happened as he was 0-2 versus Darter. Nevertheless, he wrestled Darter with confidence and was able to rack up seven consecutive points to go ahead on the match and win 7-3 to advance to the finals. In the finals, Morales was defeat by 2018 state place winner Jacob Good of Clovis High.