Puma Classic wrestling tournament: Fausone takes 154-pound title


SANTA ROSA — It seems unusual for a wrestler who runs cross country to get tired at the end of a match.

Casa Grande High’s Jack Fausone won the 154-pound wrestling title at Maria Carrillo’s Puma Classic Saturday in a most uncommon manner.

“I got gassed late,” Fausone said after Woodland’s Austin Cunningham trimmed a 6-0 deficit to 6-4 in the final seconds. “He’s a strong kid. My stamina is usually an advantage. I just got tired and held on. I just got tired and held on.”

Fausone was one of two Empire competitors to win division titles in a meet dominated for the sixth straight year by Vacaville’s state powerhouse.

Windsor’s Perez Perez defeated Casa Grande’s Ian Bailey, 17-2, at 108 pounds to start the championship round.

Healdsburg’s Richard Sandoval fell in the finals to Vacaville’s Chris Lai, 8-0. Willits’ Tom Bender was pinned in the third period by Hoopa’s Orion Cosce to finish second at 172 pounds.

Vacaville had eight wrestlers in the championship round and all eight won titles, capped by heavyweight Johnny Schupp pinning Las Lomas’ Dylan Walsh in 31 seconds.

The Bulldogs finished with 244 points, well ahead of powerful College Park at 170.

“It was a really competitive meet,” Windsor’s Perez said. “There were tough teams here.”

Host Maria Carrillo topped all Empire teams with 116 points, tying Livermore. Windsor was eighth with 111 and Casa Grande 11th at 101.

Fausone, ranked No.1 in the North Coast Section, pinned No. 2-rated Tyler Reardon of Livermore in a semifinal showdown.

“The semifinal win actually made me happier than the championship,” said the 6-foot-3 Fausone. “He’s ranked No.2 behind me in the section and 11th, behind me, in the state. So, it was a big win for me.”

Fausone had his usual height advantage on Woodland’s Cunningham, who was more thickly muscled in the upper body.

“My being tall gives me an edge in certain positions,” Fausone said. “I’m able to get in on them and stretch guys out, although I didn’t really do it tonight. I think my stamina was the difference … until I got gassed in the last round.”

Fausone led 4-0 at the end of the first round. His reversal upped the lead to 6-0 in the third round when Cunningham escaped and gained the advantage to trail 6-4 with just 19 seconds left in the match.

“I obviously don’t run as much when I’m wrestling as when I’m doing cross country,” Fausone said. “I need to get more cardio work in.”

Perez manhandled Bailey, a surprise entrant in the finals at 108.

“The top guys at the weight weren’t wrestling there today,” Perez said. “The No. 1 guy moved up to 115 and another top guy just wasn’t here. I didn’t expect to see Ian in the finals.”

Perez was, however, ready for his Casa Grande foe.

“I heard he was saying stuff, talking about me, before the match,” Perez said.

That led to an unusual, but effective approach for the Windsor star.

“The plan was to take him down, let him up … take him down, let him up and then see what my coach wanted me to do,” Perez said after taking a lead almost immediately and then increasing it to 9-1 with 1:38 left in the second round.

Perez is looking forward to league championships and the section tournament.

“Everything has been going well,” he said. “I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel like I’m wrestling well.”

Vacaville’s Lai was too much for Healdsburg’s Sandoval, leading 2-0 after the first round and 5-0 early in the second. Sandoval reached the title match by beating College Park’s Conner Yau, 5-1. The Greyhounds’ star won his first two matches by pin.

Bender was in a tight, exceptionally physical battle with Hoopa’s Cosce before being pinned. The match appeared to be headed to overtime after the pair had a brief altercation just outside the boundary, followed by Bender being sent sprawling off the mat onto the basketball court.

Bender had control late in the third round, but Cosce reversed it, gained control and quickly registered the pin. Windsor’s Isai Guzman was third at 172.

Casa Grande’s Billy Marshall was third at 222, where Vacaville’s Zach Crane beat Livermore’s Matt Neale in one of the night’s best matches. Petaluma’s Tanner Bernich was third at 197. Carrillo’s Evan Bluestone was third in the 122 division.

Puma Classic Invitational
Team scores: Vacaville 244, College Park 170, Gregori 125, Foothill, 118.5, Maria Carrillo 116, Livermore 116, Castro Valley 113, Windsor 110.5, Woodland 108, Casa Grande 101, Hoopa 77, Mission San Jose 74, Lower Lake 65.5, Eureka 62, Healdsburg 54, Dublin 52, Alhambra 40, Cardinal Newman 38, Willits 37, Granada 34.5, Del Norte 29, Petaluma 29, Maria Carrillo 26, Miramonte 24, Willows 13, Vintage 9, Hayward 8, Maria Carrillo 3 8, St. Bernard 5.5, Tamalpais 5.
Championship Round
108 – Perez Perez (Windsor) dec. Ian Bailey (Casa Grande), 17-2.
115 -Gionn Peralta (Vacaville) dec. William Booth (Mission), 13-2.
122 – Kasey Klaus (Vacaville) dec. Christ Caldwell (Las Lomas), 6-4 OT. Third-place – Evan Bluestone (Maria Carrillo)
128 – Cameron Bailey (Vacaville) dec. Brandon Disbrow (Livermore), 6-2.
134 – Major Stelly (Dublin) dec. Romello Monjares (College Park), 7-2.
140 – Zach Dawson (Vacaville) pin Austin Soto (Foothill).
147 – Brian Cergi (College Park) dec. Sal Osorio (Castro Valley), 10-0.
154 – Jack Fausone (Casa Grande) dec. Austin Cunningham (Woodland), 6-4.
162 – J.P. Chow (College Park) dec. Louis Samuel (Las Lomas), 4-1. Third-place – Ian Black (Healdsburg)
172 – Orion Cosce (Hoopa) pin Tom Bender (Willits). Third-place – Isai Guzman (Windsor)
184 – Chris Lai (Vacaville) dec. Richard Sandoval (Healdsburg), 8-0.
197 – Jeramy Sweeney (Vacaville) dec. Cal Dutrow (Foothill) 13-2. Third-place – Tanner Bernich (Petaluma)
222 – Zach Crane (Vacaville) dec. Matt Neale (Livermore), 3-2. Third-place – Billy Marshall (Casa Grande)
287 – Johnny Schupp (Vacaville) pin Dylan Walsh (Las Lomas). Third-place – Marko Kovco (Maria Carrillo)