Well, it only took me a week to post this stuff, but I figured I’d kick off the wrestling season right with some notes from the Lou Bronzan Invitational, the first batch of state rankings, and all things wrestling. Join me, won’t you?
- I didn’t stick around to see who was given the actual award, but my vote for Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Bronzan would have gone to Concord’s Nick Pica. In his first match at 215 pounds this year, he beat St. Francis-Mountain View’s Drew Meulman to win the championship match. I was really impressed with his tenacity. At every stoppage, he’d take a minute, catch his breath, and then go right back on the offensive. If he can develop that killer instinct that his brother, Tito, had, you could see the younger Pica challenging for a state title.
- As usual, the Bronzan was one of the absolute best-run tournaments you could go to. It was the 25th year of the tournament and it continues to be one of my favorites to attend.
- On a state-wide level, I had a chance to see Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills 140-pounder Kyle West win a title at the Bronzan. West made it to the state final last year and I’d say he’s a favorite to get there again this year. His Bronzan title win over Liberty’s Ryan Smith was a defensive battle, with neither wrestler looking to make a wrong move.
- Every year it’s fun to take a look at the initial rankings put forward by thecaliforniawrestler.com and try to figure out the toughest weight class. Right now, I’m looking forward to seeing the 152-pound class shake out. When De La Salle’s Tyler Sheridan is No. 4 (after placing second at the Reno TOC), you know you’re in a tough weight class. Top three are Clovis’ Scott Sakaguchi, Vacaville’s Tyler Hodel, and Camarillo’s Jonathan Urango.
- Some early-season props have to go to Livermore’s Alec Fraser and Shawne Hoehne. Both took first at the Zinkin Classic and Fraser was named Champion of Champions. Looking down the line, Fraser’s in an interesting weight class at 130 pounds because Gilroy’s Martin Gonzalez, Poway’s Henry Yorba, and Del Oro’s Connor Morgan are all battle tested wrestlers that should perform well at state. Still, Fraser’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in Bakersfield this year. And how bout the possibility of a Hoehne-Pica final at NCS? That would be a great match.
I haven’t quite nailed down what my next tournament will be, but today I’m keeping an eye on results from Midlands. The Sierra Nevada Classic also has a couple locals in it, and is always a quality tournament. So, wrestling season is in full swing.