As a sophomore last season, Shadow Ridge’s Brendt Burleson struggled to make weight and was left off the varsity roster for the postseason.
On Saturday, Burleson was one of four Mustangs to earn a first place medal at the Sunset Region tournament at Bonanza, helping Shadow Ridge to the team title with 196½ points. Centennial (187½) was second, and Arbor View (179½) third.
Also capturing individual titles for the Mustangs were A.J. Thai-Bautista by major decision, and Alika Villiatora and John Scarpati each by pin.
But it was Burleson who pulled the shocker, knocking off Bishop Gorman’s Mason Campbell, who was the favorite to win the 126-pound division.
Leading 2-1 with a little more than 10 seconds left in the match, Campbell went for a tilt, and Burleson scored on a reversal with seven seconds left to pull out a 3-2 win.
“When I felt the tilt, I felt like it was a perfect opportunity for me to take a shot with the title on the line,” Burleson said. “It feels great to actually come back, make weight, compete for my team and end up winning a title at regionals.”
Shadow Ridge coach Gus Gledhill said because of the weight issues and being relegated to junior varsity in the postseason last season, Burleson was one of the team’s hardest workers during the offseason.
“He’s kept his weight where he’s supposed to be, and he’s just one of those kids that it’s not over until the end of the match,” Gledhill said. “You’ve always got a shot with him to win. Brendt is amazing when it comes to scrambling, and when Mason went for the tilt, I thought to myself ‘what’s he doing here instead of stalling out the match.’ And because Brendt can put himself in a good position because he is so wiry, I knew he was going to do something special.”
Thai-Bautista opened the championship round by dominating Arbor View’s Dalton Eickhoff in their 106-pound match, controlling the bout from the start to win 10-1. Villiatora followed that with a pin over Centennial’s Ryan Pierce at 113.
Scarpati, who won the 170-pound regional title last season, wore down Legacy’s Justin Tanner before scoring a pin in the third round to take the 182-pound title.
It was Shadow Ridge’s first team title since 2010 when the tournament also was held at Bonanza.
“We’re going to have it here every year,” joked Gledhill. “This is a great feeling. It’s a hammer of a tournament on our side. We got some great teams with Palo and Arbor and Cimarron and Centennial. So, to be on top, it’s a special thing for the kids. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of time in the offseason.”
Said Scarpati: “It’s what we’ve wanted since the beginning of the year. We’ve been working, and that’s been our goal the whole year. We worked really hard all week, and our coaches said if we wrestle hard and wrestle our entire matches we could take it. And this gives us motivation for state.”
In the 152-pound bracket, Palo Verde’s Joshua Pine continued his weekend reign, by pinning Centennial’s Brett Giles in 1 minute, 38 seconds. Pine pinned all four of his opponents in the first round, wrestling collectively for 2:39 during the two-day event.
Centennial’s Hunter Brown pinned Shadow Ridge’s Kevin Henry to nab his second consecutive 195-pound region championship, and was followed by 220-pound teammate Roger Alvarado, who escaped with a 3-2 win over Shadow Ridge’s Tyler Carter. The Bulldogs’ Earl Teopaco (138) won an 8-3 decision over Cimarron-Memorial’s Stanton Peay.
Bishop Gorman had three individual champions, led by Sean Randles, who scored a takedown over Shadow Ridge’s Uziel D’Mattus with 10 seconds left to earn the 132-pound title with a 4-2 win. Santi Bent (120) and Jackson Perry (285) also won individidual titles for the Gaels.
Arbor View’s Tyler Roper eked out a thrilling 7-5 victory over Palo Verde’s Tyler Dinsmore in the waning seconds at 145.
Cimarron-Memorial’s Jonathan Ruggeroli pinned Arbor View’s Matthew Alejandro at 160, and the Spartans’ Davin Maiden defeated Centennial’s David Porter 5-2 to take the title at 170.
The top three wrestlers from each weight class advance to next week’s state tournament in Winnemucca.
Shadow Ridge and Centennial each will send eight wrestlers to state. Arbor View qualified seven, and Cimarron-Memorial and Palo Verde each will have six headed north. Gorman finished with four qualifiers.