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Five storylines from the Sierra Nevada Classic
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Five storylines from the Sierra Nevada Classic

Rancho Bernardo wins the tournament for a third straight time

The Rancho Bernardo wrestling team traveled from San Diego to claim the Sierra Nevada championship for a third consecutive time. The team title came to the last match of the tournament where California state runner-up Tyler Badgett (152) defeated two-time Arizona state champion Alfonso Martinez (Desert Vista) 3-0 to help the Broncos jump Del Oro High in the team standings 212 to 211.5. Spring Creek (Nevada) was third with 207.5 points followed by Sprague (Oregon) 160 and La Grande (Oregon) 150 to round up the top five schools in the 70 plus team’s tournament. The Broncos had three individual champions in Badgett, Jaden Le (145) and Joven Jovero (182) and three additional medal winners. Next up for the Broncos will be the rugged Doc Buchanan tournament in Clovis, California.

Future Division I wrestlers win titles

A total of four wrestlers with NCAA Division I aspirations won individual titles at the Sierra Nevada tournament. Richard Castro – Sandoval of Santa Ynez High (120) who won his second Sierra Nevada title will be taking his talent next season to Cal State Bakersfield and compete for Coach Manny Rivera. Gabe Vidlak of Cascade Christian High (126) who is a three-time Oregon state finalist and two-time state champion will be staying close to home and compete for Oregon State. Vidlak and Castro were chosen as the most outstanding wrestlers in the tournament after their impressive performances. Jaden Le of Rancho Bernardo (145) won the event for the first time after having finished as the runner-up last year. Le, who is ranked No. 2 in California, will be competing for Ivy League power Columbia University. His teammate Tyler Badgett (152) will travel across the country and compete for Old Dominion University.

Pinning machine

California’s Evan Ivaldi of Del Oro High won the Sierra Nevada Classic by pinning all foes he faced during the two-day tournament. The California state qualifier made the best of being the No. 2 seed as he pinned his first four opponents in the first period. In the semifinals match, Ivaldi took longer to obtain the fall over Oregon state place winners Travis Sherman of Dayton High; Ivaldi pinned him in the third period of their match. In the finals, Ivaldi faced fellow California state qualifier Bonner Montgomery of Chester High. Ivaldi made quick work of Montgomery as he obtained the takedown with ease before putting him to his back and getting the fall. Ivaldi is only a junior and has the potential to become a contender for a state title in February.

No points scored on him

A year ago, Tyler Badgett of Rancho Bernardo (152) won the Sierra Nevada Classic and was awarded the most outstanding wrestler award. This year, he looked to be the winner of the award for a second time as he dismantled the competition by not allowing a single point to be scored on him. Badgett pinned his first three opponents in 2:46, 1:38, and 55 seconds, before defeating his last two opponents 8-0 and 3-0. A scrappy wrestler with great mat awareness, Badgett had his eyesight set on getting the 100th pin of his scholastic career but failed to do so in this tournament. Badgett will get the opportunity to accomplish the feat next weekend at the Doc Buchanan tournament.

Freshman champion

The lone freshman to win a tournament title this weekend was Del Oro’s High Isaac Herrera. Competing at 106-pounds, Herrera was triumphant in defeating Oregon state place winner Brayden Boyd (Sprague) 4-2 in the championship finals. Herrera is one of the top freshmen this season from the Golden State. He is currently ranked No. 5 in California by Flo Wrestling. Herrera made quick work of his first four opponents and then earned a (14-6) major decision in the semifinal round prior to facing Boyd. Herrera is currently undefeated on the season with championship titles at La Costa Canyon and Sierra Nevada Classic.

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