2021-2022 Varsity Results
Each week this will be updated with the latest Bella Vista varsity team results:
Week Fourteen: The California State Championships did not disappoint. Our lone entrant this year was Matt Yang and he wrestled great. If you've always followed the state meet, in the past it was a random draw in terms of where you fall in the bracket, top guys could face each other right away, while descent wrestlers may find an open path deep into the tournament. In more recent years they have hand picked a formula that keeps the top 4 kids away from each other, increasing the odds the best kids get a shot at a top medal. Last year (and from now on) they started seeding the top 16 kids in the state, a much more fair system. Let's get one thing straight, everyone there is good, so upsets are not uncommon. Matt was seeded #11, so that gave him two matches against unseeded wrestlers before things would really heat up. Matt took advantage and got two pins in his first two matches. He wrestled very well, got his feet wet, now it's nothing but tough from here on out. Matt's third match was against the #6 ranked (seeded) wrestler in the state, a Southern Section champion. Matt put another great match together and came away with a narrow victory that was not decided until the last few seconds; an upset win and more momentum as he heads into the quarter finals. At this point Matt is for sure in the top 12 in state, so he's for sure right where he belonged in terms of seeding; but he just knocked off #6, so now we smell a medal. In the quarter finals Matt faced the #3 ranked wrestler; while he was competitive, the other wrestler controlled the match (2 - 10). Matt did score a takedown, a tough thing to do at the very top of the state ladder. Now Matt drops down to consolation, on day two he will wrestle his first match in the morning to either medal at state or be eliminated. Unfortunately, the #1 ranked (and seeded) wrestler in the state at Matt's weight class lost on day one, Matt would have to beat the #1 guy in order to medal. That's the state tournament, anything can happen, number's 1's get knocked off and end up making that medal stand for everyone else tough to get to. Matt once again wrestled great, but ultimately couldn't get out from bottom in order to tie the match up and ended up losing 1 - 2. A tough break, Matt lost two matches at state, one to the #3 wrestler who ended up winning the state championship later that night; and one to the #1 wrestler who ended up placing third. We knew going in as the #11 seeded wrestler Matt would need to knock off someone above him in order to medal, he did that when he beat #6, but some poor luck that in his weight class the #1 would lose and drop to Matt's side of the consolation bracket. Top 12 at state and a 50 win season for Matt, he will go into our "Past Greats" section of this website because of a well earned (through a lot of sweat and dedication) fantastic BV Wrestling career.
In conclusion: Bella Vista Wrestling had a great year. We had a mix of a really good senior class, to go along with a whole bunch of really good younger wrestlers. The Broncos won three tournaments this year, not including a Section Championship, our first in 5 years. We put 9 wrestlers in the conference finals, 7 wrestlers in the DII Section finals, qualified 11 wrestlers to the Masters championships (tied for second most wrestlers from one team) in which our team placed in the top 15 (of nearly 100 schools). We had Matt Yang finish in the top 12 at Boys State and Yelena Makoyed place 2nd at Girls State; don't forget Nicole Strand having the Masters tournament of her life and qualifying for Girls State. What I appreciate most about this team, they got better throughout the season and really turned it on in the playoffs - I believe everyone maxed out their current wrestling abilities. Now it's time to see who's hungry for more next year, we start weight training on Monday! A quick thank you to our staff: Shawn Swilley (1st - 3rd graders), Aaron Keough (4th - 6th graders), Matt Vigna (advanced kids club), Dana Smith and Nelson Lund (middle school), Julian David and Johnny Kight (JV team), Pete Hedrick (girls team), Jake Briggs, Jared Poindexter, and Garrett Lane (varsity team).
Week Thirteen: It's State Meet Time!!!! The best time of year hands down. The chance to put your name down as a Bella Vista great forever. Yelena Makoyed has done just that, she placed second at the Girls California State Championships! Yelena had a bye the first round, in round two she won by pin, in round three she won by pin to put her in the state semi-finals and be a guaranteed state medalist. In the semi's she won by technical fall (mercy rule of 15+ point lead) to put her in the finals. Unfortunately in the finals she got caught in a throw and pinned. Always tough to lose by a throw pin, you feel so cheated on the chance to wrestle. Her opponent had many more years of experience, but Yelena is a quick study, I have a feeling we may reverse that outcome next year. Yelena ended up with a 35 - 2 record, with over 25 pins; and now a state runner-up medal, what a season! On the boys side, this week was the Masters Tournament, the best of the best in the greater Northern California region (over 200 schools). The Broncos placed in the top 15. We had a great first round with 9 of our 11 wrestlers finding a win - Tyler Maples, Dylan Maples, Vince Olivera, Colton Labanowski, Dalton Lee and Matt Yang all got falls in that round, equaling lots of team points. The next round was a bit tougher with only Carson Lee, Dalton Lee and Matt Yang winning their matches to reach the quarter-finals. Dylan Maples came back and won his next two matches to reach day two. Dylan Maples, Carson Lee and Dalton Lee all reached to top 12 and day two of competition; unfortunately that's where it would come to an end for them. Dylan and Carson, both freshman, reaching the top 12 at Masters is quite a start to their high school careers. Matt Yang won his quarter-final match and would wrestle in the semi-finals on day two. Matt's goal was to win this tournament for sure, but that ended with a 4 - 6 loss in the semi's. Showing mental toughness, Matt came back and won his next two matches to place 3rd. So Matt Yang will be our only representative at the California State Meet next Friday and Saturday in Bakersfield. Matt will go in as the 11th ranked 170 pounder in the state, so he'll get a seeded position in the brackets. They medal top 8, so Matt is right there; a good tournament could easily see Matt on the medal stand Saturday night! See you in Bakersfield!!!!
Week Twelve: The Broncos have now put together three great weeks of competition. Let's start off with the girls this time. Yelena Makoyed pinned her way to a Masters Championship this weekend; there simply is no one in Northern California that can give her a match. There are 2 or 3 top girls in Southern California, so next week rubber will hit the road and we'll see if Yelena can bring back a state championship. She placed 7th last year, and she's hungry for the top of the podium. Nicole Strand put together a fantastic run at the Masters to place third. Nicole upset the #1 girl from another region 5 - 2 to reach the semi-finals. While Nicole didn't win her semi, she did win the next two matches to place third and punch her ticket to the state meet next weekend. Emily Alderman did a nice job as well, winning a few matches, but ultimately falling short of the medal stand; she really improved this year. The boys did a heck of a job; we brought 11 wrestlers to the tournament, and all 11 qualified on to Masters! We had 7 section finalists, more than any other school. Dylan Maples (115) and Matt Yang (172) each won section titles; Matt won his finals match 20 - 5. Dylan was losing his match going into the second round, then spent the next 4 straight minutes with his opponent on bottom (unable to escape) while Dylan turned him to his back a few times. Tyler Maples, Carson Lee, Eli Morgan, Colton Labanowski, and Dalton Lee all fell short of titles but had wonderful tournaments. Dakota Gutierrez pulled off special back to back victories. Dakota lost a quarter final match he really should have won, and that put him on a very tough side of the consolation bracket; he would have to go through two very tough customers to qualify for Masters and he did it. Dakota won two hard fought matches and ended up placing 3rd - a really great comeback from a tough loss. Vince Olivera lost a tough semi-final, but bounced back to earn a hard fought 3rd place. Here's a great story...Zach Orr at the league tournament was suffering from the flu and simply had no practice or gas in the tank to be successful. He did manage to place 5th at league to get the alternate spot; meaning that if another person in his bracket cannot wrestle for some reason, Zach can have the spot. Zach not only got in, but he upset the #2 kid to make the semi-finals. He ended up losing that semi, but won his next match to place 4th and qualify for Masters! Alternate, lucky to get in, and now a Masters qualifier - a great job. Here's yet another great story. Taylor Arendt was in the consolation bracket, he needed to win his next two matches to qualify; lose either one and his season is over. In the first match Taylor was on his back twice, an inch from being pinned, and he had to fight for near 30 seconds each time; tremendous heart! He ends up getting the pin in the third round. If he doesn't fight super hard (twice!), he never gets the chance to get that 3rd round pin. In the next match to either qualify or not, Taylor again finds himself on his back for an extended period of time inches from being pinned, and he survived again. Once again, it's the 3rd round and Taylor is on top, he needs a pin, back points would not be good enough. Taylor gets the pin with .08 left on the clock (less than one second)!!! The whole team came out of the stands to celebrate for him. It was a special moment for Taylor and a special moment for me as a coach to see him fight so hard and have his teammates so happy for him.
Week Eleven: The Broncos are definitely on a roll. After a great ride to a Team Section Championships last week, the Broncos put it all together again at the Capital Valley Conference League Tournament - Round One of the individual road to the state championships. Bella Vista had 12 wrestlers compete, nine made the finals (next best team had four). We had five champions: Dylan Maples, Dakota Gutierrez, Eli Morgan, Dalton Lee, and Matt Yang. Tyler Maples, Carson Lee, Vince Olivera, and Colton Labanowski also made finals; all finalists receive "All-Conference" honors - way to go! Taylor Arendt was our final section qualifier placing 4th. Zach Orr placed 5th and will be an alternate; and Jose Montano, while winning 6 - 0 got thrown on his head and suffered a concussion (he'll be OK) and had to injury default out of the tournament. Next week we head to Benicia for the sectional tournament, round two. Two side stories: Colton Labanowski defeated the number one seeded wrestler with a 9 second pin! Dalton Lee, seeded 3rd, defeated both the #2 and #1 seeded wrestlers on his way to a title.
Week Ten: "Oh My", did the Broncos have a day!!! Let's rephrase that, did your Division II Section Championship Team have a day!!! This team showed tremendous grit. On Wednesday the Broncos faced Ponderosa HS for the CVC League Championship. Both coaches knew this match could go either way, and bonus points for big victories would probably tell the story and that's exactly how it played - but not in BV's favor. Bella Vista lost the dual 25 - 44. Early in the match things were going about as expected, then we lost two matches in a row that we were winning in the final minute; very heartbreaking losses. It seemed to snakebite the team, because we took a series of hard losses after that; and even though we won the final match of the night, the dual was lost several matches earlier. A disappointing loss for sure, but a fun night with lots of energy in the gym and some exiting matches; good high school wrestling. On Saturday the Broncos participated in the Section Team Duals Championships; all the first and second place teams from each league in a dual tournament to win a section title. In the division II tournament Bella Vista was seeded third; opposite from Ponderosa, but on the same side as another tough league championship team - Turlock HS. In round one BV faced Enoch HS and blew them out of the water 65 - 6. Round two was faced Turlock. Things were not going well, after four matches BV found themselves down 0 - 15; which was really like 0 - 27 because we were forfeiting 220 & 285. It was not looking good but don't count us out. The Broncos came storming back Eli Morgan, Dalton Lee, Colton Labanowski & Zach Orr each scored pins and Matt Yang added a technical fall (all our seniors). With one match to go the score was 32 - 32; Tyler Maples would step on the mat it all on the line. Losing after one round, Tyler finished with a big takedown and near fall to secure the come from behind victory and a spot in the finals! The finals opponent - Ponderosa. Bella Vista proved to have a ton of resiliency and a short memory because we completely flipped the match from Wednesday - BV 40 Ponderosa 21. Carson Lee started the match off with a victory over an opponent he lost to Wednesday; Vince Olivera did the same. After two matches, on Wednesday we were down by 9, we were now up by 6 and the flood gates opened. Danny Harris wrestled one of the best kids tough and only gave up a simple victory and 3 team points for them (they got 6 points in that match on Wednesday). Dakota Gutierrez scored in pin at a weight we gave up a pin at on Wednesday; that's a 12 point switch between the two nights. Eli Morgan got a 3 point victory on Wednesday, he got a 6 point pin on this day. Colton Labanowski got a huge victory that probably sealed the victory. Pondo scored 3 on Wednesday, this time we got 3 team points - we just kept reversing or taking back points all match long. Matt Yang, Zach Orr and Tyler Maples each scored pins, while Dylan Maples secured a solid victory and Taylor Arendt wrestled great keeping Ponderosa from scoring big points in a match they expect to. Just a great day, the kids pulled off two big upsets to earn our first Section Championship since 2013. That ends the year for "team" stuff, next week is round one of the individual playoffs toward the California State Championships. The girls team had their round one this weekend, no surprise Yelena Makoyed pinned her way through the regional tournament and will be the number one seed at next weeks Masters Championships as Yelena looks to improve on her 7th place state finish last year. Coming on like gangbusters is Emily Alderman! Emily seems to place higher and higher each weekend. This weekend she made the regional finals and finished with an outstanding 2nd place to qualify as a high seed at Masters. Nicole Strand rounds out our Masters qualifiers placing 4th this weekend.
Week Nine: The Broncos had a great week. On Wednesday we had our dual against Consumnes Oaks High School, BV won 73 - 0, that makes us 6 - 0 in conference play. Next week we face 6 - 0 Ponderosa HS for the Capital Valley Conference Championship. The match takes place up in Shingle Springs, it should be a great one. Two storied wrestling programs, two extremely even teams, a packed house of fans on both sides of the gym; it should be a great night. Between the two teams we've won over 60 conference championships and over 20 section championships - this is what high school wrestling is all about. Even our two middle schools are going to face off that night! On Saturday the Bronco wrestling team went to the Rodriguez Tournament in Fairfield; of the 29 teams Bella Vista took home first place. That's two tournament championships in a row! Leading the way were Eli Morgan and Matt Yang, both were tournament champions. Matt Yang was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. Placing second were Tyler Maples, Dylan Maples, Jose Montano, and Colton Labanowski; That's six finalists out of 14 weight classes. Vince Olivera, Danny Harris and Dakota Gutierrez all placed 3rd. Connor Willey, Carson Lee, and Andy Olivera also medaled. Twelve medalists, a great job by the whole team. We are playoff ready. Not only do we face Ponderosa for the conference championship, next Saturday we wrestle for a Dual Team Section Championship. Next week is the last week of "team" stuff, the following week is the start of the road to the California State Championships. This is the time of year we all look forward to; who will be the next "Bella Vista Great"?
Speaking of the road to state, the girls team begins their road this Saturday for round one of their playoffs, a regional tournament to qualify for the Masters Tournament. Yelena Makoyed is certainly ready to go, she took 1st place at this weekends girls tournament at Elk Grove High School. Yelena had the top 4 girls from Northern California in her bracket and she breezed through with dominating victories. Sophomore Emily Alderman also took home a tournament championship this weekend, she is simply getting better each week.
Week Eight: A good week for the Bronco Wrestling team. On Wednesday we faced Consumnes Oaks HS and won 53 - 18; that makes us 5 - 0 in CVC league competition as we edge closer to the championship dual with Ponderosa. We normally have this weekend off from tournament play, but the flu bug knocked out about everybody on our team this year at one point or another, so we scheduled another tournament this weekend last minute. We were able to find a lower end tournament at Lindhurst HS. We knew it wasn't up to our level, but it did give us matches as we tune up for the championship push that is only two weeks away. The Broncos won the tournament by nearly 100 points! We brought 15 wrestlers and 14 medaled; and this was without 4 starters. Some of those 15 were extra's on our team, so at some weights we had two wrestlers. At 106 and 113 lbs. we had both finalists (BV against BV in the finals). Leading the way on Saturday were tournament champions Tyler Maples, Dylan Maples, Vince Olivera, Eli Morgan, and Dalton Lee. Placing second were Connor Willey, Derrik Carstensen, and Andy Olivera. That's 8 finalists. Placing 3rd were Bryan Henkel and Taylor Arendt. Carson Lee, Jose Montano, Sebastian Bravo, Nathaniel Woods, and Reno Grenier round out our other medalists. Our varsity girls were at Del Oro HS for a tournament. Yelena Makoyed led the way with another first place finish. In the finals Yelena faced the girl she wrestled last year at the state championships for 7th & 8th, Yelena pinned her this time! She just keeps getting better and better. Emily Alderman had an outstanding tournament reaching the finals by defeating the #2 seeded girl. In the finals Emily lost 4 - 10 to a girl that placed 3rd at state last year; it shows that Emily is now ready to make some noise come playoffs! Nicole Strand did something most don't, she lost an early match and came all the way back through the consolation bracket and placed 3rd. Nicole showed amazing determination coming back the hard way (any loss along the way and she's eliminated).
Week Seven: Only one dual match this week, no tournament. Bella Vista took on Roseville High in our fourth CVC Conference dual. Bella Vista came away on top with a 53 - 21 victory; BV is now 4 - 0 in CVC action. Leading the way were Tyler Maples, Derrik Carstensen, Dylan Maples, Carson Lee, Vince Olivera, Danny Harris, Colton Labanowski, Matt Yang, and Zach Orr - all getting pins or at the very least bonus point wins for the team.
Week Six: This weekend the Bella Vista wrestling team headed up North to Chico for a big tournament. This tournament had nearly all of the power teams from the Sac-Joaquin and North Sections; along with three teams from Nevada. There were 58 teams in attendance and the Broncos placed 9th. We brought nine wrestlers to this tournament, all nine wrestled into day two. Leading the way was Matt Yang who placed second. Matt pinned his way to the finals; one pin was against the #13 ranked wrestler in the state. In the finals Matt wrestled very well but came up short and lost 4 - 6 to the #5 wrestler in the state. A surprise (and it shouldn't be) was Derrik Carstensen who placed 3rd. Derrik's family spent a good deal of the Christmas break in Hawaii, so Derrik had little practice but that didn't show, he was amazing. He was seeded 7th, but knocked off the number 3 seed in the quarter-finals; and obviously placed 3rd, four spots above his seed. Five other wrestlers placed in the top 12, scoring lots of points to help the team crack into the top 10 teams. We sent a few varsity starters to a tournament in Escalon. At the Escalon tournament you're guaranteed 5 - 8 matches, so we sent some younger wrestlers there to get more match time. Connor Willey ended up placing 4th and Carson Lee placed 3rd; a great showing for two freshman at a varsity tournament. That's all good stuff, but the biggest win on the weekend was by Yelena Makoyed. Our girls team attended a tournament in Napa that is regarded as the hardest girls tournament in the state; nearly all the top girls and girls team attend this. Yelena, who placed 7th at state last year, was the tournament champion this weekend with a second round pin in the finals. Yelena is really putting together a dominant season. Placing 8th was Emily Alderman, who also had a really nice tournament; placing at this event is a big deal.
Week Five: The Bella Vista wrestling team attended a new tournament we had never been to before, the Tournament of Champions at Cerritos College (Los Angeles). There were 109 teams in attendance and the Broncos placed 6th! There certainly were not 109 full teams, many brought partial teams as families go on holiday vacations, but the brackets were 64 man brackets, so it was a very big tournament. Number 4 ranked California team (Poway) won the tournament, with another dominant team (state #5) St. John Bosco placing second. The Broncos claimed 4 medals: Dalton Lee (3rd), Tyler Maples (4th), Matt Yang (5th), Colton Labanowski (7th). The team wrestled very well and got lots of pins; 8 pins in our first 13 matches, so lots of bonus team points. We brought nine wrestlers due to some sickness by some starters, by the end of day one we had only six left, all six were in the quarter finals. Even the three that were eliminated on day one, each won two matches before being knocked out. Of the six quarter finalists, four made the semi-finals, things were going well. The semi's didn't go as well, we lost all four matches; but each wrestler came back and won at least another match to place at higher medal positions. Dalton Lee had a dominant tournament getting two pins and one technical fall; of his seven matches, four of them he did not surrender a point. Tyler Maples is quietly having a really great season; he's 22 - 5 thus far this year, and only a sophomore. Tyler doesn't get a ton of recognition as compared to some of our seniors, but he deserves the recognition for a great job. A good tournament against many Southern California schools we don't normally see. We'll take a couple days off for New Year's and come back with another tough tournament in Chico so we can face all the teams in the upper portion of our state.
Week Four: A slow week of action for the Broncos as we head into the holiday break. No tournaments and only one dual match. We had round three of our Capital Valley Conference competition; this week we faced Oakmont HS. At the end of the first four matches BV was down 11 - 12 and it looked as if the Broncos would have their first real test in league competition, but the Broncos won every match the rest of the way for a resounding 65 - 12 win. Tyler Maples, Vince Olivera, Danny Harris, Eli Morgan, Dakota Gutierrez, Dalton Lee, Colton Labanowski, and Matt Yang all got pins. The most interesting story on the night was Eli Morgan, suffering from the flu, sucked it up for the team and went out and wrestled; getting a second round fall. When Eli's weight class was up, the match was in doubt, so we asked him to try his best and go out there; and he responded well. We'll take the next 5 days off, then start practice again. BV will be going to a tournament in Los Angeles the first week off, and a tournament in Chico the second week; so more action to come!
Week Three: There's starting to be a buzz about the Broncos. Coaches from other teams are regularly talking about our team and the talent level going on right now. The Broncos had our second CVC league dual on Wednesday against Del Campo, a match we won 59 - 21; we're now 2 - 0 in league competition. The team went to the Casa Roble Tournament on Saturday. In a tournament with over 20 teams, Bella Vista took second. We were missing three starters and still medaled 10 kids. We had two tournament champions - Derrik Carstensen and Matt Yang. Derrick Carstensen hurt his knee in early season workouts and hadn't wrestled a live match yet this year until Saturday, it's like it never happened. He had zero rust, he wrestled amazing! He was on offense and attacking all the time; when an opponent attacked, he simply countered and scored with no hesitation. He won his final by a convincing 7 - 1. Matt Yang (ranked #13 in the state) continued his big season. Matt is undefeated on the year and has looked great, very calm and assured. Matt was down 2 - 3 in the third round of the final at 182; no problem, he won by fall! So you know, Matt is ranked #13 at 182 lbs and undefeated, but he's barely over 170; he wrestles up so his teammate can wrestle. It'll be interesting to see where he falls in the rankings once he drops to 170 lbs after the holiday's. Tyler Maples continued his strong season with a third place finish at 106 lbs. Tyler has been very good the past two weeks since he dropped to 106 lbs. Eli Morgan also placed 3rd. He lost a tough semi-final 3 - 4 in a match that could've gone either way, but he dominated the rest of his opponents. Dylan Maples, Andy Olivera and Colton Labanowski all came in 4th place, helping score lots of team points. Jose Montano and Dakota Gutierrez each placed 5th. This team is really coming along; there is improvement each week. A lot of really good kids and good athletes working hard each week to get better. On the girls side, they went to a big tournament in Rocklin with girls from around the state and other states. Yelena Makoyed placed second! Yelena had a 2 - 0 lead in the third round with under a minute to go, lost her balance in a move and got put to her back to lose in the finals. Much better to learn these lesssons now than at the state tournament. It was Yelena's first loss this year, she's a rising star in women's wrestling.
Week Two: Bella Vista had a good week. We opened Capital Valley Conference play with 67 - 9 victory over Whitney HS; we only lost two of the 14 matches. The highlight of the match was when the Whitney coach flipped one of his two best wrestlers up a weight class hoping to steal two victories. The plan was to take a good kid and have him wrestle Danny Harris at 138 lbs., and take one of their stars and have him wrestle Eli Morgan at 145 lbs.; well that backfired because the Broncos won both matches! Freshman Danny Harris as had success at every youth level, the transition to high school varsity has not been any trouble; he won and controlled the match. Eli Morgan won the match of the night. Whitney's star was 2 - 2 at Masters last year, he can wrestle; but Eli took him down repeatedly and controlled the match from top to bottom. Interesting weekend - we split the varsity team in half and went to two different varsity tournaments. The seniors and sophomore Vince Olivera went to one of the toughest tournaments in Northern California at Elk Grove. To give you an idea of the level, the California State Team Champions (Buchanon HS) were in this tough field. We only had two seeded wrestlers (Matt Yang at #3 / Vince Olivera #8) when the tournament began; we brought 7 kids and 5 earned medals! All five placed higher than seeded. Matt Yang last week went from #17 in the state to #14 ranked in the state at 182 lbs. Seeded third, Matt knocked off two state level kids and won the tournament; get ready for another jump up in the state rankings. Colton Labanowski had a great day; he was unranked and ended up placing 4th. Colton has always been a thrower, but he has opened up his offense to more skills and it is paying off. Vince Olivera did a great job, seeded 8th, he placed 5th. In the match for 5th and 6th, Vince was losing 0 - 5 in the third round and got a pin for the victory - great show of "never say die". Dalton Lee went in unranked and walked away with a 6th place finish. He dominated a wrestler from Benicia that he had a close match with last year, so he's improving. Unseeded Eli Morgan had a tough first round match (because he was unseeded) and lost; in a one day tournament, if you lose your first match and win the rest the best you can do is 7th place. Eli lost a heartbreaker in his first match, but came back and won everything else the rest of the day to place 7th. Another beginning spot in the brackets and Eli has a good chance to place higher, bad break. At the other varsity tournament (Bay Area 55 in Castro Valley) we sent our varsity freshman and sophomores. This tournament is no patsy, 36 schools, every school has at least a star or two. Zach Orr (senior) went as well because at this point in the season he's the same weight class at Matt Yang; we're not going to have Zach wrestle 15 lbs underweight at Elk Grove. Zach had a great showing, he placed 3rd. His wrestling has been fantastic; very aggressive and gets after his offense. He lost a tough one in the semi-finals; he was very offensive and just missed the first takedown to start the match, but fell out of position and got put to his back to lose. A tiny mistake may have cost him a tournament championship because he dominated his other matches. 106 pounder Tyler Maples had the big tournament, he was tournament champion; and did so with a dominant 16 - 0 technical fall in the finals! Only a sophomore, that's his first varsity tournament championship. Freshman Danny Harris continued his fast start to varsity high school wrestling with a 3rd place finish. He really looked great all day. Dakota Gutierrez placed 3rd as well. Dakota has been wrestling in a bit of a fog the first week of the season; and he wrestled that way in his first match and half way through his second match yesterday. Fog no more, half way through his second match, and through the rest of the tournament, he got after it and really showed how good he is. If he can stay as active in matches the rest of the way he can have a great year. Also in the medals was freshman Carson Lee placing 5th. Carson got a takedown in overtime to win his 5th place match. Out of 36 teams in attendance, the Broncos (with a team of freshman and sophomores + one senior) placed fourth.
Week One: The Broncos went to the perennially tough Vacaville Duals this past weekend. There were two Masters championship teams in attendance - Vacaville and Birmingham out of the Los Angeles Section. Also there were Clovis North, Turlock, McQueen (Nevada), Paso Robles HS, and Oak Ridge. Bella Vista went 4 - 3 on the seven duals over the weekend; a good showing in such a strong field. We started 3 freshman (would've been four if Carson Lee didn't get injured during the week), 3 sophomores, 1 junior and 5 seniors; a good showing for a line-up with half the team being underclassmen. We have no heavyweight and an injury at 126, so we forfeited two weights all weekend. The highlight of the weekend was Matt Yang who made the All-Tournament team at 182 lbs. Matt wrestled multiple returning state meet qualifiers and beat them all. Matt is state ranked at #17, he beat the #12 state ranked wrestler on Friday. Not only did Matt win, he broke his opponent; "broke" meaning that before the match was even over his opponent had mentally broke - stopped trying. Another good tournament was turned in by Dalton Lee who went 5 - 1. His five wins were at 160 lbs. and his one loss being at 152 lbs. Dalton would have made the All-Tournament team at 160 lbs. if he had wrestled the last dual of the tournament, but he sat out so a teammate could get a match; nice "team" thing to do, and with no complaints. Freshman Dylan Maples had a nice tournament going 5 - 2 over the two days. One of his wins was a comeback win against a state ranked wrestler from Clovis North! Colton Labanowski went 6 - 1 with 3 pins. Colton has always been a thrower, and he did a few this weekend, but he's really opened up his offense and it showed. Here's the story of the weekend, Connor Willey hurt his thumb during warm-ups before the tournament even started, said he jammed it. So we taped it up to stabilize it and he wrestled all weekend; he went 5 - 2 and showed no effects from the thumb injury. They took him to the hospital to check it out on Sunday and he has a fracture! Not that we want our wrestlers wrestling with injuries, but how tough is that? Connor's weight class was 108 this weekend, he weighs 103; that made no difference to a kid who wrestled a whole tournament with a broken thumb. Vince Olivera went 4 - 3, but he got a horrible call in a match that cost him the win. The official called a reversal and nearfall for Vince, then decided to change his mind and call nothing when the other coach argued; that was the difference in a one point loss. Vince battled well all weekend long. Lastly, Eli Morgan had a good weekend. After losing his first two matches, Eli came back to win his next four matches; a great job of mentally recovering from a set back. On the girls team returning state medalist Yelena Makoyed won her second tournament of the year this weekend - She won the Folsom Tournament last weekend, and the Casa Roble Tournament this weekend - with all pins!!! Also placing at Casa Roble were Emily Alderman (2nd) and Nicole Strand (3rd). In all we brought 4 girls to Casa Roble and 3 medaled; the fourth girl (Brooke Stayner) had a very big bracket, she went 3 - 2 but did not place - still wrestled very well. So it's all started; this year's team had a nice start, time to work on details and really make a run at a big year. Talk to ya next week!
It's our favorite time of year, wrestling season! The past few years the Broncos have been successful without question; we have a streak of 15 straight years of being in the top 4 in the section, but we haven't won a conference title in four years. This year's team can change all that! We return most of our line-up, but also add six freshman wrestlers who medaled at state level competitions in middle school. The past two years our middle school team has been nothing short of dominant, now they're all in high school; plus we have a very good group of seniors. This will be a very good dual meet team, we have an experienced wrestler at 13 of the 14 weight classes. How the freshman improve will determine how good a tournament team we will have this season. Expect a very fun year to follow the Broncos.
At 106: The favorite to be the starter at this weight class will be Tyler Maples. Tyler had a real solid freshman season, winning most of his matches. A real good wrestler at cradles, he could start a lot of our dual matches this year with a 6 - 0 advantage. Last year (as a freshman) Tyler was an undersized 106 pounder, and still only missed qualifying for Masters by one match; this year he actually weighs a bit more than 106, so he'll be full sized and a year better - watch out. Challenging Tyler for the starting spot at this weight will be freshman Connor Willey. Connor was a TOC medalist in middle school, so he's very good. This should be a good battle in the practice room all year. Connor has a ton of natural ability, expect him to be a key contributor; but he's got to get around Tyler to contribute this year.
At 113: Another deep weight class for Bella Vista. Dylan Maples has to be the early favorite here. Dylan has medaled at every major wrestling tournament through middle school; he is "the freshman to watch" in a class with lots of talent. Dylan has a motor that does not turn off; he's a lot of fun to watch because he attacks at all times - like a dog on a bone. Dylan will end up at this weight class sooner or later (he may wrestle 120 a bit), but he's got a real good wrestler who will have a thing or two to say about who starts. Derrik Carstensen is one of our freshman stars from last years newest class. Derrik wrestled nothing but varsity last year; he was way undersized at 106 last year, but won most matches anyway. He had an off season growth spurt and gained nearly 20 pounds. Derrik is another fun wrestler to watch, his sense of balance and position is excellent, so he can score from many positions. Derrik will have to beat one of the Maples brothers to be a starter full time, and he's good enough to do it.
At 120: We have great competition in the practice room at several weight classes, but at 120 and 138 it is especially heated; an exceptional wrestler at each of these weight classes will not even make the starting line-up. At this weight class the battle will be between Carson Lee and Isaiah Schannep; both were highly decorated middle school wrestlers. Isaiah did not go to our feeder middle school (Carnegie), so they have never wrestled each other; even at tournaments while attending middle school. I couldn't even guess who will win the wrestle-off for the starting spot; but I can tell you, whomever wins one week may not win the next week. We don't have a natural 126 pound wrestler, so the loser of this wrestle off will probably start at 126. If Dylan Maples starts the season at this weight class, these two may be wrestling off for that 126 pound spot; but even that is not for sure, both Carson and Isaiah are capable of beating Dylan on a given day. No matter how it plays out, the battles in the practice room will not only be fun to watch, but they'll all get better because of it - practice may be tougher than matches against other schools.
At 126: The starter at this weight class will be the loser between Carson Lee and Isaiah Schannep most likely. BV will be just fine at this weight no matter who starts and who we wrestle, these two are good! While we'll have to wait and see, don't be surprised to see Vince Olivera throw his hat in the ring at this weight come playoff time. Vince will start at 132 pounds, but in January (when the weight go up two pounds) Vince may drop down; especially in February for playoffs.
At 132: Vince Olivera is the unquestioned starter at this weight class. Vince was a freshman last year and Masters qualifier. Vince had a great year last year; he didn't just qualify for Masters as a freshman, he even won a match and was competitive in his others. Vince has an extremely unorthodox wrestling style, he's way beyond normal flexible; he's Houdini out there, scoring from very weird positions. He started out last year a bit nervous, but once he got his legs under him he really took off; this year he starts with confidence, so expect big things. He did a lot of off season work, so he'll hit the ground running.
At 138: "Dog Fight" is the only way to describe this weight class. There are six good wrestlers at this weight class that could all start at most high schools, four will sit at BV. All six weigh between 138 & 145, so the winner will choose the weight class they want, second place will take the other weight; four others will watch. The favorite will be Eli Morgan. Eli is a senior who's been wrestling varsity since he was a freshman, so he's got the most experience. Eli's physical strength may be what puts him over the top; he wrestles very aggressively and he's strong. Some of the other wrestlers I'm going to mention have more mat time over a lifetime, but Eli is still the favorite; he makes a jump in his ability each year, so he'll be tough. Dakota Gutierrez is no underdog, he can beat Eli without question. Dakota spent the most time on a wrestling mat this summer of anyone on the team; he's flat out better! Dakota medaled at every major middle school tournament two years ago; he started his freshman year solid (because he's good), but he really turned a corner the second half of last season. He missed qualifying for Masters by one match last year; should have made it, wrestled a little flat that day. Dakota had a real good freshman season and worked his butt off this off season, he looks great in practice right now; expect a really great year. Dakota should be the starter at 138 or 145. Next, but right on the heels of the other two is freshman Danny Harris. Danny is another of our highly decorated freshman; let me tell you, Danny flat out just gets better every year. I don't think Danny gets mentioned as much as he should with the best of the freshman class, but I really think that he may end up being an all time great at BV. Danny has the athletic ability to succeed, but what makes him special is that his mind is in a great spot. He's VERY coachable, and athletic enough to take the coaching and use it right away. Whether or not Danny starts the season as a starter, he'll wrestle in varsity tournaments all season long. My prediction for Danny is a average start as he gets the "I'm wrestling high school varsity" nervousness out of his system, then he's going to take off and have a great year. Andy Olivera may be mentioned fourth on this list, but he doesn't deserve to be, Andy knows how to win. Andy will not impress you with slick technique, but Andy always finds a way - he's sneaky good. Andy spent good time in the weight room this off season, he's starting to look like a statue. Andy is very analytical; he's not quick in a match but like I said, he figures it out and just wins. A starter for us last year, he won 20 matches, expect more this year. Rounding out the big five is senior Carson Mullarkey. Carson has been wrestling since middle school; he's varsity level and would start in many programs, the only reason I have him listed this far down is that the others wrestle in the off season. If the others don't bring their A game, Carson could be the man at this weight. You'd be making a big mistake to not consider Jose Montano as winning this battle for one of these two weight classes. Jose has been in our kids program since 3rd grade, so he's got lots of experience and he's good. An incoming freshman, Jose has medaled at several state and national level tournaments; he's developed great feel for positions on the mat over the years. The only reason I have Jose lower on this list is that he's going through some burn out right now and has been sporadic in attendance through summer and fall workouts; if he gets mentally determined, watch out!
At 145: Only one thing can happen at this weight class, the winner of the wrestle offs of the above six wrestlers will either pick to wrestle 138 or 145, the second place finisher will go the other weight class.
At 152: Dalton Lee is the clear favorite here. Dalton is a senior who went 2 - 2 at Masters last year; if he mentally commits to a great season he can get to the state tournament. When Dalton is "on" he's tough, he simply needs to find that chip on his shoulder and go dominate every match. 39 wins and 29 pins last year, he's going to be a big point scorer for our team this season.
At 160: Colton Labanowski is the clear favorite at this weight. 34 wins with 22 pins last year, he's another senior we're looking for to lead our team to some big wins. He's a thrower, which makes him a crowd favorite. Colton has spent most of high school wrestling varsity, so he's experienced and ready for a big year. He should be at the Masters tournament looking for a state meet bid in the end. Nathaniel Woods will see plenty of varsity time at this weight as well. Nathaniel is a senior who's been wrestling since the 7th grade, so he knows what he's doing. I expect that Nathaniel will start at this weight many times this year as we adjust our line-up up and down to take advantage match-ups in dual meets.
At 170: Matt Yang will start at this weight. He may start the season at 182, but it won't be long before he's at 170 pounds. Matt is the unquestioned best wrestler in the room. Matt went 2 - 2 at the state tournament last year and he's flat out better. He didn't get there by accident, he works out extra after every practice so he can get better. He was good all year last year, but he really discovered himself at playoff time. He won a league championship and a section championship last season; look for him to repeat all that and more.
At 182: Zach Orr is the man at 182 pounds as soon as Matt Yang clears out. A past Masters qualifier, this senior is going to win a lot of matches. Zach is the strongest kid at Bella Vista HS, and he knows how to wrestle; he's a tough out for our opponents. Watch him wrestle, when he starts off aggressively, his opponents have no chance. He actually had an off year last year, look for him to really explode this year. Zach will probably start the season at 195 lbs. and move down when Matt moves down.
At 195: Taylor Arendt, a junior, will be our starter here. Taylor has been a two time varsity letterman, but he's never been able to wrestle a weight class near his weight; he's always had to wrestle up a weight class in order to be a starter. So while his success has been sporadic in the past, this year he gets to wrestle his weight class, so look for a good year here. Taylor has a real good work ethic in the practice room; with his attitude and wrestling a fair weight class, I really expect him to start winning consistently.
At 220: Junior Sterling Strack will be the starter at this weight class. Sterling is another two year varsity starter, and like Taylor, he hasn't always been able to wrestle his best weight class; this year he does. Sterling has placed at sections, so he's tasted success before; his confidence in the practice room has been good, expect a good year here as well. If he has a good year in the practice room, he'll have a good season for sure; that's going to be the key.
At 285: Sophomore Riley Ross is our heavyweight. A team favorite with his piers, Riley has found a reliable takedown, so he's going to get on the winning side of things more this year than last. He's a big heavyweight, if he gets someone on their back, it's over.
So that's the team this year. We have 50 wrestlers on the team this year, all but 6 have wrestled before; most for many years. This team is deep with experience. My prediction is that we can reasonably qualify 11 of the 14 spots to the Masters tournament this year; way more than most schools. After going 2 and 2 at state last year, and working out "extra" all the time, Matt Yang will be in the hunt for a medal at state this year. We have another couple wrestlers who can make state this year if in their head they are "determined" to make that happen. Three to state would be a nice year. This storied program has been solid these past few years, but dormant compared to the BV tradition; this program is about to explode again, it is deep in young talent. Expect to enjoy watching this team, every one can wrestle at a quality level! We open up the season on Dec. 1 at the Vacaville Duals - see you there!