Sakaguchi places 5th at NCAA D-I Wrestling Championships

Oregon State junior Scott Sakaguchi earned his highest career finish at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, placing fifth at 149 pounds Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

The seventh-seeded Sakaguchi concluded his second straight All-American season with a victory, edging Missouri’s unseeded Drake Houdashelt 6-5 in the fifth-place match. He placed seventh at 149s last season.

Sakaguchi (30-8) opened the day with a shot at placing third, but dropped a 4-2 decision to Columbia’s fifth-seeded Steve Santos in the consolation semifinals. Santos went on to finish third.

A California high school champion at 145 pounds for Clovis in 2009, Sakaguchi has a three-year college career record of 94-28.

Sakaguchi becomes two-time NCAA D-I wrestling All-American

Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis High) has reached the consolation semifinals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, assuring himself All-American status.

Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi (Clovis High) became a two-time All-American on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

Today, the former Clovis High standout aims for as high as a third-place finish to conclude his junior season.

The seventh-seeded Sakaguchi (28-7) avenged an early season loss to eighth-seeded Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech with an 8-5 decision to reach the consolation semifinals. Sakaguchi will wrestle fifth-seeded Steve Santos of Columbia today for a berth in the third-place match opposite the winner of Minnesota’s sixth-seeded Dylan Ness and Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt.

Sakaguchi opened the day in the championship bracket, but dropped a 2-1 decision to Pac-12 rival and second-seeded Jason Chamberlain of Boise State in the quarterfinals. Chamberlain also beat Sakaguchi 3-1 in overtime at the Pac-12 finals.

But Sakaguchi bounced back with a 2-1 decision over Binghamton’s Donald Vinson to secure no worse than a top-eight finish and All-America status.

Sakaguchi, a 2009 state champion while at Clovis, placed seventh at 149 pounds at the NCAA’s last year.

Columbia’s Stephen West (Buchanan), meanwhile was knocked out of the 172-pound bracket with a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonaccorsi. West finishes his senior season 24-9.

Bullard/Fresno girls rugby team seeks players; youth event set for Saturday

The Central California Youth Rugby Foundation is seeking high school-age girls in the Fresno/Clovis/Sanger area for its Bullard/Fresno team.

Bullard/Fresno recently played its first Varsity Gold Division game, a 75-5 loss to Amazons of Sacramento.

Details: coach Patrick Quan, (559) 360-0182.

Also, the Bullard Rugby Club is hosting the area’s first youth matches Saturday, with competition in the under-10, under-12 and under-14 age divisions.

Matches start at 11 a.m. at Holman Park, 6522 N. West Ave. in Fresno.

Bullard Youth Rugby Match flyer


Buchanan-Clovis wrestling showdown set for Thursday

Clovis’ Nick Nevills wrestles Anderson Palm from Collins Hills High, on Dec. 7, 2012. (MARK CROSSE/THE FRESNO BEE)

Buchanan High wrestling coach Troy Tirapelle gets a second shot at his father and older brother — Clovis coach and assistant Steve and Adam Tirapelle — in a dual meet setting when the Bears host Clovis on Thursday in a Tri-River Athletic Conference showdown.

The varsity match is expected to begin between 7-7:30 p.m.

Buchanan, in its second season under Troy Tirapelle, enter No. 23 in California while two-time defending state champion Clovis is tops in the’s state rankings.

The dual will feature several of the state’s top-ranked individuals, including Buchanan’s D.J. Loren (No. 7 at 106) and Eric An (No. 9 at 220) and Clovis’ Julian Gaytan (No. 8 at 113), Jonas Gaytan (No. 2 at 126), Jason Ladd (No. 4 at 145), Adrian Salas (No. 1 at 182), Matt Weiss (No. 5 at 195) and Nick Nevills (No. 1 at 285).

In all, the Bears have eight wrestlers in the state rankings while the Cougars have 14.

Clovis has won five in a row in the series and haven’t dropped an in-state dual since losing to Buchanan in 2007.