The Gilroy High boys wrestling team made an early statement by winning the Clovis West Shootout in Fresno on Nov. 19, edging Buchanan High 260.5-258.5.
Buchanan is the six-time defending CIF State champion so the importance of the Mustangs’ victory can’t be overstated. Gilroy, a five-time state runner-up, finished ninth in last year’s State Championships, but this latest showing proves why it could be ready to dethrone Buchanan this season.
While Buchanan is definitely stronger in the upper middle to heavier weight classes, Gilroy accumulated the vast majority of its points in the lower to middle weight divisions. It was an all-GHS final at 120 pounds, with sophomore Isaiah Cortez defeating freshman Moses Mendoza by forfeit.
Third at State at 106 pounds last season, Cortez earned a preseason ranking of No. 2 at 120, with the updated rankings to be released on Dec. 1. Mendoza, who is ranked No. 2 at 113, is one of a handful of dynamite freshmen on the team who is expected to win Central Coast Section titles and contend for a top-three showing at State.
Freshman Jose Limones placed fourth in the 120-pound division. Another top GHS freshman, Dominic Bozanic, lost the 106-pound final to Buchanan’s Rocklin Zinkin, who is the top-ranked wrestler in that weight class.
Bozanic, who is ranked No. 13 at 106 pounds, lost via pinfall at the 4:59 mark, just a minute away from extending the match into overtime. Cortez’s twin brother, Elijah, competed at 126 pounds and scored an impressive 7-1 decision over Buchanan freshman CJ Huerta, who is ranked No. 6 at 120.
Elijah Cortez, who is No. 3 at 126, took third at 113 pounds in last year’s State Championships. Sophomore Daniel Zepeda took the 138-pound title at Clovis West via pinfall 59 seconds into his match against Arcata’s Joshua Hannan, while junior Moses Mirabal dominated the 145-pound final with a 12-4 major decision victory over Clovis North’s Damian Montoya.
Freshman sensation Travis Grace edged Buchanan’s Leo Contino 2-0 for the 160-pound title. Grace, who has a stellar club resume, is No. 6 in the state but his ranking will surely go up in the updated list after this performance. Grace and Elijah Cortez both went a team-best 5-0.
Grace’s tournament victory should be the first of many, as Contino is No. 4 at 152 pounds. Ruben Le won the third-place match at 152 with a 7-3 decision, and Micah Doug Porter did the same at 170. Juan Carlos Puga took fifth in the same weight class.
At 132 pounds, Alex Serrano and Daniel Glenn scored points for the team by finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
Gilroy High sophomore Joshua Guzman capped an impressive season with a 21st-place showing in the CIF State Championship Division III boys race on Nov. 26 at Woodward Park in Fresno.
Guzman ran the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes, 1.6 seconds, or 5:09 mile pace. Displaying the savvy of an experienced race runner, Guzman took off at a very manageable pace and was in 35th place at the 1-mile mark.
At the 2.1-mile mark, Guzman had moved up to 24th before finishing 21st, which meant he ran a strong negative split. Guzman, who was coming off a fourth-place showing in the Central Coast Section Championships, won four of five league races including the Blossom Valley Athletic League Santa Teresa East Division championship, to go along with fifth, seventh and eighth-place finishes in three other invitationals/meets in what was truly a remarkable season.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]