South Bakersfield Wins 68th Annual CIT in M.B.

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

February 1, 2024

Grapplers from some 91 high schools converged on Morro Bay High School Jan. 18-19 for the 68th Annual Sam Boyd California Invitational Wrestling Tournament, with over 1,600 young men plying to stand atop the podium at the end of what was a grueling, 2-days of competition.

South High Wins CIT

In team scoring, it was South High of Bakersfield coming away with the First Place Trophy, scoring a total of 168.5 points. Second Place went to Bakersfield High School with 156.0 points and in third was Kingsburg High with 156.0. Calvary Chapel came in fourth with 152.5 points.

Among SLO County schools, Paso Robles was the top scoring team with 71.5 points, taking 27th place. Atascadero High School was 30th with 67 points and San Luis Obispo High was 40th with 48.5.

The host team Morro Bay Pirates finished 57th with 29 points. Another local school, Santa Maria High was 76th with 12 points.

Wrestling is divided by weight classes, and each athlete must “weigh in” before the tournament begins and is placed in the appropriate brackets for their weight on that day. Weight classes in general go up every 7 pounds. Here are the top finishers by weight class: 

106 Pounds. In the smallest weight class, 106 pounds, it was Nathaniel Granados of Merced HS winning the CIT Championship, beating Isaiah Lara of South High, taking the match due to injury in 2-minutes 32-seconds. It improved the senior’s record on the year to 32-6. 

Third Place went to Xavier Escamilla of Exeter; fourth to Aiden Salas of Matilda Torres HS; fifth to Isaiah Cruz od Mayfair; sixth to Diego Barajas of St. Frances; seventh went to Makai Van Natta of Hanford; and, Logan Hansen of Royal HS took the Eighth Place medal. Top 8 wrestlers in each weight class were awarded medals.

113 lbs. Anthony Castillo of Central East High took the top spot in the 113s, defeating second place finisher, Elijah Valencia of Merced 6-0 in the finals. The official stats posted online didn’t list Castillo’s season record but Valencia dropped to 30-8 on the season.

Third Place went to Carlos Melgoza of Kingsburg; in Fourth Place was Ian Morales of Exeter; fifth went to Sergio Escobar of Bakersfiel; sixth to Quinton Hull of Clovis West; seventh to Caine Martin of Camarillo; and the final medalist was Santana Ugues of Arvin.

120 lbs. Caleb Rivas of Golden West wion the 120-pound class, defeating Yousef Jubrail of Chaminade; pinning him in 50-seconds and improving the junior’s season record to 20-4. Jubrail, also s junior, dropped to 24-6 on the year.

Third Place went to Andrew Wallace of Cabrillo; fourth was Kobe Negrete of Redwood; fifth was Brandon Gamino of Sanger; sixth was Jonel Hutton of Oxnard; seventh was Alex Ramos of Clovis West; and in eighth was Solomon Reyes of Madera. 

126 lbs. Santino Alvaro of Santa Ynez defeated Paso Robles’ Dominic Marquez in a 2-1 decision in the finals of the 126s. Alvaro, a junior, improved to 20-6 on the year, and the senior Marquez dropped to 32-5.

Third Place went to David Gonzales of Sanger; fourth to Daniel Baeza of San Dimas; fifth to Alexander Marquez of Golden Valley; sixth to Manuel Gutierrez of Selma; seventh to Gavin Mitchell of Madison; and eighth went to Isaac Ghaffari of Camarillo.

132 lbs. in the 132-pound class, Monache high’s junior sensation, Jacob Perez defeated another junior, Leo Macias of Kingsburg in a 6-2 decision. Perez improved to 30-1 on the year and Macias is now 24-7.

The other medalists were Bryce Luna of St. Francis in third; fourth was Leo Maestas of Clovis West; in fifth was Isaak Mendoza of Redwood; sixth was Gavin Contreras of Ceasar Chavez; seventh place went to Edgar Mora of Mayfair; and in eighth place was Morro Bay’s top finisher, Shea Dawson, who was injured in his last match and so couldn’t continue on and challenge for seventh.

Nevertheless, eighth place at the CIT is an accomplishment to be proud of.

138 lbs. Alek VanBebber of Kingsburg was the CIT Champion at 138 lbs., defeating Jeremiah Bertalotto of Turlock 12-7 in the finals to improve to 18-2 on the year. Bertalotto dropped to 12-2.

Third Place went to Roman Gutierrez of Bullard; Sonny Lora of South High was fourth; fifth was David Arroyo of Reedley; sixth was Matthew Luna of St. Francis; seventh went to Noel Garcia of Madera South; and eighth went to Brendon Ko of Garces Memorial.

144 lbs. In the 148s, it was Slava Shahbazyan of Chaminade defeating Anthony Vargas of Central East in an 8-2 decision in the finals. Shahbazyan is now 26-1 on the year and Vargas is 5-1.

Third Place went to Niko Valenzuela of Calvary Chapel; fourth was Jesus Loreto of Kingsburg; fifth was Bradley Espinoza of Brea Olinda; in sixth was Elijah Robled of Mayfair; sebventh went to Andrew Gonzalez of Camarillo; and Angelo Adame of Matilda Torres was eighth.

150 lbs. In the 150s, it was Nicholas Hernandez of Highland defeating Eli Reyes of Selma, 5-1 to win in the finals. Hernandez is now 26-4 and Reyes is 19-4.

Third Place went to Cross Rodriguez of Calvary Chapel; fourth was Lewis Saldivar of Bullard; fifth was Christopher Alvarez of Camarillo; in sixth place was Demetrius Vargas of Reedley; seventh went to Brody Preisendorf of Redwood; and in Eighth Place was Israel Gutierrez of South High.

157 lbs. Christopher Creason of El Diamante defeated Isreal Sanchez of Hanford, pinning him in 2:28 of the first round to win the tournament. Just a sophomore, Creason’s season record now stands at 24-3, while Sanchez, s a junior, fell to 25-10.

Third Place went to Benjamin Kirk of Royal; Fourth Place went to Fabius Carrillo of Golden Valley; in fifth was Ray Juarez of Bakersfield; sixth went to Nathan Aceves of Brea Olinda seventh to Brandon Velasquez of Dos Pueblos; with Chuk Ohiaeri of El Camino Real Charter taking eighth.

165 lbs. In the 165s, it was Junior Bojorquez of South High defeating Dylan Trevino of Calvary Chapel, 3-1 in the finals. Bojorquez, despite his first name is a senior this year and now sports a 21-4 record. Also a senior, Trevino fell to 25-9.

In Third Place was Owen Hammel of Righetti; fourth was Ayden Cortez of Clovis West; fifth was Forfeit Forfeit of Unattached (sic); sixth was Hayden Tadeo of Garces Memorial; in sixth was Christian Carchi of Simi Valley; seventh went to Samuel Ramos of Dos Pueblos; and, eighth was Robert Maria of Hueneme.

175 lbs. In the 175-pound weight class it was Max McWilliams of Calvary Chapel pinning Primo Catalano of Chaminade in the finals at the 2:23 mark in the second round, improving to 28-4 on the season, while Catalano dropped to a still very respectable 25-5.

Tghird Place went to Nicholas Perez of Hughson; fourth to Ramon Arredondo of Bullard; fifth was Evan James Keppler of Edison; sixth was John O`Brien of Bishop Alemany; and Seventh Place went to Noel Ceballos of Monache; and eighth was Steven Sengprechanh of Exeter.

190 lbs. In the first of the heavy weight classes, senior Chance Evans of San Luis Obispo High blanked senior Kai Vasquez of Bakersfield, 7-0 to win the tourney. Evans improved to 7-0 on the year and Vasquez fell to 10-5.

Simon Arredondo of Bullard took third; Fourth Place went to Enrique Segura of Redwood; Fifth Place was Jack Beard of Mayfair; sixth was Michael Baeza of San Dimas seventh was Anthony Aldana of Salinas; with Merced’s Eric Almanza eighth.

285 lbs. And in the final weight class, at 285 pounds, it was Adam Stanley of Bakersfield with a decisive 7-1 win over Second Place Joey Chacon of Clovis West in the finals. Stanley improved to 23-3 on the year and Chacon is 16-4.

Third Place went to Xavier Franco of Central East; fourth was Isaiah Beas of Madera; fifth was Peter Fulgentes of Royal; Sixth Place was Angel Mercado of Crespi; seventh was Berkan Ranjbari Saisan of El Camino Real Charter and in Eighth Place was Ruben Fabela of Selma.

Outstanding Awards

The CIT also has Individual Awards, given for the most pins, the fastest pin, Outstanding Wrestler, and more. 

Jacob Perez of Monache High School was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament, after he won the 132-pound Championship.

Most Pins — Fastest Time Award went to Central East’s Xavier Franco with seven pins in 16:07, for an average pin time of 2:30. Each round lasts 3 minutes, so Franco impressively pinned each of his seven victims in the first round of the match. Franco also took the honors for the “Most Pins/Tech Falls — Least Time.”

Most Technical Falls — Least Time. Niko Valenzuela of Calvary Chapel had the Most Technical Falls in the Least time, recording four in a total of 14:42.

Fastest Fall went to Atascadero’s Cole Loney whose recorded time for the quick pin was listed at “0:00” (clearly a typo). The second fastest pin was recorded by Frank Riley of St. Francis in 11-seconds, so Loney’s pin was in 10-seconds or less.

Fastest Technical Fall. Max McWilliams of Calvary Chapel had the fastest technical fall in 1:20.

Most Team Points Scored. Golden West’s Caleb Rivas scored the most points for his team of any wrestler, with 38.0. SLOHS’ Chance Evans was tied for third most points with Adam Stanley of Bakersfield at 36.

Most Single Match Points. Paso Robles’ Dominic Marquez scored 22 points in one of his matches to win the Most Single Match Points Award.

Most Total Match Points. Alex VanBender of Kingsburg scored the most total points in his matches with 88.

And the “Largest Seed-Place Difference” or the wrestler who started out lowest in the rankings and finished highest in the tournament was a tie between Anthony Aldana of Salinas, and Andrew Gonzalez of Camarillo. Both were seeded 64th in their respective weight class brackets and finished seventh, improving by some 57 spots.

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