NORTH HIGHLANDS – Brandon Claiborne didn’t care much to have the freebie point he was granted prior to facing Henley High’s Connor Noonan in Saturday’s 138-pound title match at the Tim Brown Memorial Invitational so he went out and earned a dozen more.
Claiborne’s 13-5 win at the Jackson Sports Academy was the only local championship.
Teammate James Portilla (170) also made the title match but was pinned in the third period by Nevada Union’s Will Sumner. Ponderosa’s Zach Miller (113) competed for first place but was defeated 21-5 by Windsor High’s Perez Perez.
As a team, Oak Ridge finished in third place out of 97 schools with 179.5 points. Ponderosa was sixth with 133 points and El Dorado was 70th with 24 points. Clovis West took first place with 247 points.
Claiborne used a combination of takedowns and reversals against Noonan, leading 8-2 after one period.
“I was pretty upset,” said Claiborne of being awarded the point prior to the match. “I don’t like cheap points. I like to earn my points the old way.”
Claiborne continued his dominance over Noonan en route to a 5-0 record at the two-day invitational, winning two by 16-1 and 16-0 scores.
“He (Claiborne) knew that (Noonan) was going to be tough,” Oak Ridge coach Casey Rhyan said. “That kid is a quality wrestler. Brandon is getting better every match; you can see it and it’s good to see. He’s wrestling smart.”
Portilla, a senior, posted a 4-0 record that included winning two of the matches by pins and the others by decisions before facing Sumner in the finals. In the first period, Portilla fell behind 5-0 and trailed 13-0 in the third before he was pinned.
“He beat the fourth seed, then the fifth seed and he beat the No. 1 seed to get into the finals,” Rhyan said. “All top five in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Everyone is asking me ‘who is that kid?’”
Prior to his meeting with Perez, Miller posted a 4-0 record that included winning two matches by decisions, one by pin and the other by injury default.
“I thought he wrestled great,” Ponderosa head coach Tyson Escobar said. “As a freshman, to wrestle in something this big … just an outstanding performance.”
More Trojan and Bruin grapplers competed at the invitational. Oak Ridge’s Bishane Segal (182) took third place, posting a 6-5 decision over Placer’s William Thornton. Segal went 4-1, winning three of his matches by pins.
Ponderosa’s Kyle Jennings (220) took fourth place. He posted a 4-2 record, losing his third place match by pin.
Ponderosa’s Tyler Shamblin (170) took sixth place and finished with a 4-2 record. He lost to Portilla in the quarterfinals by a 4-0 decision.
Oak Ridge’s Ryan Redhair (145) took seventh place, winning his match by injury default. He finished 3-2.
For El Dorado, Zachary Bazell (HWT) went 2-2. In the same weight class, Ponderosa’s Nathaniel Moody also went 2-2.