Gators streak to fifth straight Sunrise crown

Green Valley’s recent run of wrestling success was built on its strength in the lighter weight classes.

It was the Gators’ performance in the middle and upper weights that proved to be the difference this season.

Host Green Valley finished with seven individual champions Saturday and ran away with its fifth consecutive team title at the Division I Sunrise Region tournament.

The Gators scored 265 points to easily outdistance second-place Foothill (181½ points). Liberty finished third with 134½ points, while Las Vegas (110½) and Coronado (101½) rounded out the top five.

The top three finishers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament Friday and Saturday at the Winnemucca Event Center.

“Obviously this is our fifth year winning this, and we’ve never had seven champions,” Green Valley coach Jon Ferry said. “It was a total team effort. Everybody knew what their expectations were, and they went above and beyond. It was very neat to see it come together there at the end.”

Sean Cannon of Green Valley defeated Liberty’s Michael Martinez by technical fall 16-1 at 132 pounds to win his third region title. The Gators then swept six straight matches from 145 pounds (Adrian Ojeda) to 195 (Cade Van Orden).

“Those finals were unbelievable,” Ferry said. “A handful of those matches, we had lost head-to-head to some of those guys multiple times, and we beat them when it counted. I give all those guys credit for not getting down on themselves.”

The biggest surprise in that span came at 152 as sophomore Giullian Nakamatsu upset Liberty senior Storm Roper 7-5 in overtime. Roper, last year’s Division I state champion at 145, led 4-1 before Nakamatsu scored a takedown with 20 seconds left in the third period and another as time expired to tie the match at 5-5.

Nakamatsu got the winning takedown with 19 seconds left in overtime as Roper looked up in disbelief.

“I asked Giullian to give me a takedown, and he gave me two,” Ferry said.

Cannon, a two-time state champion who did not participate in last year’s region tournament, dominated one of the premier matchups in the finals to earn his 200th career victory, defeating last year’s 126-pound region champion.

Van Orden pinned Coronado’s Brice Robinson 1:06 into the third period, one of two falls in the finals. Liberty’s Jaylon Bates also won by fall over Nicholas Sablan in 3:01 at 126 for his second straight region title.

Green Valley’s Jiar Meagher rallied from a 3-0 hole in the second period to beat Alli Stewart of Las Vegas 8-4 at 160, while Robert Razo held on for a 4-3 win at 170 over Foothill’s Bobby Merritt.

Josh Temple also was victorious for Green Valley at 182, pulling out a 3-2 victory over Angel Camacho of Foothill.


As a sophomore last year, Shadow Ridge’s Brendt Burleson struggled to make weight, and was left off the varsity roster for the postseason.

On Saturday at Bonanza, Burleson was one of four Mustangs to win individual titles, leading Shadow Ridge to the team championship in the Sunset Region tournament. The Mustangs finished with 196½ points to edge Centennial (187½).

Also winning weight classes for the Mustangs were A.J. Thai-Bautista by major decision and Alika Villiatora and John Scarpati by pin.

But it was Burleson who pulled the shocker, knocking off Bishop Gorman’s Mason Campbell, the favorite at 126.

Leading 2-1 with a little more than 10 seconds left, Campbell went for a tilt and Burleson scored a reversal to win 3-2.

“When I felt the tilt, I felt like it was a perfect opportunity for me to take a shot with the title on the line,” Burleson said. “It feels great to actually come back, make weight, compete for my team and end up winning a title at regionals.”

Thai-Bautista opened the championship round by dominating Arbor View’s Dalton Eickhoff in a 10-1 victory at 106 pounds. Villiatora followed by pinning Centennial’s Ryan Pierce at 113.

Scarpati, who won the regional title last year at 170, wore down Legacy’s Justin Tanner before scoring a third-round pin to win the 182-pound title.

It was Shadow Ridge’s first team title since 2010 when the tournament also was held at Bonanza.

“We’re going to have it here every year,” coach Gus Gledhill said. “This is a great feeling. We got some great teams with Palo and Arbor and Cimarron and Centennial. So, to be on top, it’s a special thing for the kids. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of time in the offseason.”

At 152 pounds, Palo Verde’s Joshua Pine continued his weekend dominance by pinning Centennial’s Brett Giles at the 1:38 mark. Pine pinned all four opponents in the two-day meet, wrestling a total of 2 minutes, 39 seconds.

Centennial’s Hunter Brown pinned Shadow Ridge’s Kevin Henry at 195, winning his second straight region crown.


Having trailed host Boulder City after Friday’s matches, Pahrump Valley closed strong by winning three of the four heaviest weight classes to take the team championship with 239½ points. Virgin Valley was second with 195½. Boulder City finished third with 158.

“This is a very tough region, with plenty of very good teams,” Pahrump Valley coach Craig Rieger said. “Last year we had the lead but it was a learning experience for us. This year we knew what we had to do: start and finish strong.”

The Trojans got individual titles by Jon Corrow at 182 pounds, Jaxon Clayton at 195 and Jace Clayton at 285.

“It was a very tough match, but I was able to pull it out,” said Corrow, who defeated Desert Pines’ Jorge Magana for his first region crown. “We have a very deep team, and we have worked very hard to get to this point.”

In raising his record to 27-4, Corrow needed to gain points during the second round before pulling away to a 12-7 decision.

Senior Jaxon Clayton had an interesting final at 195, pinning teammate Abraham Preciado in 2:47. Two matches later, identical twin Jace Clayton pinned Clark junior Mervyn Penniston in 4:57 to capture the title at 285.

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