Match counts create coaching problems when competing in high school wrestling tournaments this late in the season.
Schools like Golden West, which hosts the Central Valley Invitational at 9 a.m. on Saturday, run the risk of seeing their event littered with junior varsity draws as the elite wrestlers sit out to stay under the 40-match limit.
It appears the 10th Central Valley Invite avoided a complete submission to this trend.
A total of 23 wrestlers ranked in the Valley by The California Wrestler are scheduled to compete at Golden West. The group spans 13 weight classes and includes 14 wrestlers ranked at the state level.
Highlighting the tournament's top athletes are Redwood's Joey Cisneros (108) and Darrion Harris (122), who sat out the Mission Oak TRUE WRESTLER Invitational to keep their match count down. Cisneros is ranked third in the Valley and sixth in the state. Harris is ranked 14th in the Valley.
Other top local wrestlers scheduled to compete are El Diamante's Brenden Salazar (287) and Woodlake's Nate Mesa (184).
Salazar pinned Mt. Whitney's Dawuud Davis at the 1:30 mark in the final match of Wednesday's West Yosemite League dual to seal a narrow 40-36 victory for the Miners over the Pioneers. The meeting of the top two wrestlers in my Tulare County heavyweight rankings showed us that Salazar does not intent to give up his top spot despite falling out of TCW's state rankings.
Mesa is now 27-4 after pinning both of his opponents for the Tigers in Wednesday's East Sequoia League tri-dual between Woodlake, Strathmore and Sierra Pacific. He is my top ranked Tulare County wrestler at 182 pounds.
The top wrestler in any of Saturday's CVI draws may be Clovis' Jason Ladd (147), who is ranked first in the Valley and fourth in the state.
Teams scheduled to attend are Golden West, Clovis, Mc Lane, Lemoore, Tulare Union, Woodlake, Clovis West, Tulare Western, Tranquility, Madera, Fresno High, Hoover, Madera South, Sierra Pacific, Clovis North, Redwood, Hanford, El Diamante, Sierra, Bullard, Dinuba and Selma.
The tournament finals are scheduled for 3 p.m. The tournament will be held in two gyms this year to help with capacity and efficiency. The cost of admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and $2 for senior citizens.