The Lions outperformed all other Bay Valley Athletic League squads, placing second overall to James Logan from Union City. The two schools were pretty much alone at the top: Logan’s 204 points earned the Colts first place; Liberty’s 191.5 secured second place for the Lions; and the third place finisher, Exeter, earned 126.5.
The Lions claimed victories in the 114- (sophomore Devon Lyle), 139- (junior Austin Solari), 146- (senior Xavier Johnson) and 161-pound weight classes (senior Kevin Milner).
Milner’s match with Exeter senior Caleb Alvarado went down to the wire until the Lion came away with a 5-4 win.
Solari actually topped his own teammate, Jake Thompson-Zanarini, for the 5-0 victory.
“I wrestled smart and I didn’t give up too many points,” Solari said. “It was also kind of hard because you guys wrestle each other in practice so much that you know each other’s styles and you know what moves they’re good at. It’s harder to score because you know what’s coming.”
Liberty was also well-represented at the top in the Brittany David Invitational, a girls tournament hosted at the same time. In the 118-pound bracket, Liberty’s Kristina Diaz placed second after losing a tough match to Benicia’s Forrest Molinari.
“It was all right, but I wish I would’ve done better,” Diaz said. “She was pretty tough, but it’s always good to have good matches so I can get better.”
Pittsburg, a BVAL team hoping to rise through the ranks this season, was impressive at the Lou Bronzan Invitational, finishing 13th. Javonte Brooks-Brown, a senior, claimed a team-best third in the 286-pound class. Brooks-Brown lost to Armijo’s Andrew Fuimaono in the main bracket and later toppled Joe Lacomba from Logan in the consolation final.
Senior Kenneth Nelson placed fourth in the 183-pound bracket for the Pirates. Edwardo Marchan continued the solid performance for Pittsburg, finishing sixth in the 171-pound class.
Heritage, another local up-and-comer, finished 16th. Head coach Mark Barnes was proud of his grapplers, who took a big leap forward from last year’s Lou Bronzan Invitational. Joey Vigil, a junior, placed third in the 114-pound bracket after defeating junior Otto Sheffler of De La Salle.
Barnes’ son Dalton made it to the finals in the 183-pound class, but the senior lost a tough match to Ft. Bragg’s Jacob Richards. This year was the first time Dalton Barnes made it to the tournament’s second day.
“For him to make it to the finals, I’m very very proud of him,” Mark said. “I’m very happy with our guys. They’re working hard and doing well.”
The next BVAL squad to place was Antioch at 24th. Kyle Clark, a senior, claimed a title in the 221-pound class over Chumkaur Dhaliwal of Logan. Senior Andre Holley finished eighth in the 114-pound bracket.
Deer Valley finished 32nd, led by 139-pound junior Austin Morales. Though Morales didn’t place, he scored 12 of the Wolverines’ 32 points, making it to the fifth consolation round. Senior Tanner Sterud, in the 183-pound bracket, scored 10 points for Deer Valley.