original photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
The Open Mat’s High School Wrestler of the Week Award goes to Chase Saldate of Gilroy High School in California after his championship at the 152 lb weight class at the Doc Buchanan Invitational. For the second consecutive year, Saldate left Clovis High School, host of the Doc B, with a cowboy hat. Winners of the tournament are given the hat as an award. Saldate entered the week as the second-ranked wrestler in the nation at 152 lbs, but it’s safe to say he’ll move up to number one in the next update. Chase started the tournament with a tech fall and a pin before meeting Joe Roberts (Montini Catholic, IL) in the quarters. Roberts was a third-place finisher in Illinois last year and went on to take seventh place after falling to Saldate, 5-2. With a berth in the finals on the line, Saldate defeated returning state runner-up Tyler Badgett (Rancho Bernardo, CA), 9-4. Chase earned a pair of first-period takedowns over Badgett and never looked back. In the finals, Saldate squared off with Matthew Singleton (Woodward Academy, GA), a U16 national finalist in both freestyle and Greco-Roman this summer in Fargo. Singleton made the finals after upsetting the current top-ranked 152 lber in the country, Sonny Santiago (St. John Bosco, CA). Saldate used takedowns in the first and third periods to propel him past the Georgia state champion, 5-1.
Chase is a senior that has placed fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior at the CIF State Championships in the last two years. Since the state tournament, Saldate has been on a tear, placing third at NHSCA Junior Nationals, fourth in Fargo’s Junior freestyle tournament, and winning the Super 32. During his senior year, Saldate already has a title at the Reno Tournament of Champions and the Clovis West Shootout under his belt. Chase, the #43 ranked wrestler in the Class of 2020, is the centerpiece of a strong recruiting class for head coach Roger Chandler at Michigan State. Next weekend, Saldate and his Gilroy teammates will compete at the Five Counties tournament, one of the toughest events in the state.