CONCORD -- Clovis High School is to wrestling what De La Salle is to football. So it was only fitting that the school with the most California Interscholastic Federation wrestling team championships put itself on display at the home of the state's reining football champion.
Clovis, the two-time defending state champion, drilled De La Salle 60-6 after polishing off Vacaville — the state's ninth-ranked team — 43-25. The Spartans also fell to Gilroy 32-25 in the De La Salle Wrestling Showcase. The event brought three of the state's top-ranked teams into the Spartans' gym and it probably opened some eyes, De La Salle coach Mark Halvorson said.
"There's a different level of wrestling, obviously, with Clovis, Gilroy and Vacaville, with the level of wrestlers they have," he said. "So to be able to compete at that level and stay at that level, that's our goal. And we'd like to beat Clovis eventually."
De La Salle is the four-time defending North Coast Section Division I champion and finished fourth in the CIF Championships the last two years. But many of the point-scorers in the postseason last year graduated last spring.
De La Salle won just three bouts in its two duals. Against Gilroy, Aaron Pease routed Julian Carbajal at 195 pounds, and Angel Gomez gutted out a 2-1 decision over Daniel Patterson at 220 pounds.
Devin Aiello had the lone victory against Clovis, when he pinned Brandon Barnes with 1:03 left in the second round at 170 pounds.
The Spartans' Nathan Cervantes won an NCS title last year as a freshman, but made what Halvorson called some sophomore mistakes in a 9-5 loss to Victor Olmos of Gilroy, who's ranked ninth in the California Wrestler state rankings. Cervantes is No. 11.
"He was a little down after that match, and we talked about getting into his next one and battling," Halvorson said.
Cervantes' next match was an even bigger challenge, top-ranked Jonas Gaytan of Clovis, who was second in the state tournament last year. Cervantes managed to get Gaytan on his back in the second round, but eventually came away with a 9-8 victory, scoring a two-point takedown with 40 seconds left.
Clovis, which is in pursuit of its 11th state championship, brought a loaded lineup into De La Salle's gym, with five returning state medalists. Gilroy didn't field a full team but brought a couple of returning state medalists, including defending champion Niko Villareal. Vacaville also brought in two returning state medal winners.
"A lot of people around here have never seen a team like Clovis wrestle," Halvorson said.