How Palm Desert HS Wrestler Beau Mantanona Won, Then Lost State Title Match
Beau Mantanona, a wrestler from Palm Desert High School made it to the CIF State Title (138 lbs) match taking on Jack Gioffre. When time ran out in the game, the scoreboard showed 6-3 in favor of Mantanona, or so he thought.
“It was quite a defensive match,” explains the state vice-champion. “He (Gioffre) wins by one point starting in double overtime. Then it’s my turn down, and about 15 seconds later I hit a little move and got the reversal, so they called two points, then they swept for a near fall, then two more points . I was winning 6-3. So I thought, you know, as time goes by, I get up, I celebrate thinking I won the game. I’m going to shake his (Gioffre’s) hand and raise his hand and they raise their hand. It’s just you know, why me, it wasn’t fair.
Until the state title match, Mantanona was undefeated on the season and ranked No. 1 in the state for his weight class.
🚨 Big controversy during yesterday’s California State Tournament. The ref appears to give Beau Mantanona the knockdown and near fall, but then waves the call after the match is over, giving Michael Gioffre the 138-pound title. You make the call. pic.twitter.com/M3MNOoqtQi
—FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) February 27, 2022
When officials changed their minds, it cost Mantanona four points and the state title. At the end of the match, the officials did not provide any explanation to Mantanona. Instead, they immediately left the building, leaving Mantanona and his followers in shock. Especially his trainer and father, Anthony Mantanona.
“Not everything that was said was a loss of control. That was it. Kind of like they stole something, you know, they disappeared pretty quickly. The other coaches and the other kid, they all disappeared I don’t think they felt too proud of what just happened I mean the whole arena if you were there I think every person in that arena knows what happened has passed.
Cathedral City High School wrestling coach Eric Valenzuela explained in a YouTube video how according to National Federation of High School Associations rules, reversal and near fall points earned by Mantanona should have counted .
“It’s in the rulebook here. It’s a perfectly good reversal here, and if anything, at the bare minimum, it’s out of control.
Mantanona says if the referee had never called the reversal, it would have changed the way the match ended.
“Because I was in a tight position with 15 seconds left, I would have at least gotten a point to send him into triple overtime. Thinking I had the points, I just sat there. When you wait with very little time, you go strictly to defense. You’re not trying to score and get countered or anything, you just hang on to what you’ve got.
CIF provided NBC Palm Springs with the following statement, essentially sticking to the call made by the officials when they took points off Mantanona:
When news began to spread about how Mantanona had lost the state title match, the sports world erupted in disbelief and anger from fight fans against the two-time champion. UFC, Daniel Cormier.
When asked if CIF would be willing to apologize to Beau Mantanona for how the whole situation was handled, here’s what they said:
Luckily for Beau Mantanona, who recently signed up for Michigan wrestling and is a member of the United States World Cadet Team, his career won’t be defined by this state title loss.
ENGAGED #Go blue 〽️🔵
I am proud to announce my commitment to the University of Michigan! Thanks to my family, friends and coaches who have helped and guided me on and off the mat so far! Excited to continue my career as Wolverine! GO BLUE! 〽️🔵 pic.twitter.com/lSkCE2s1wU
— Beau Mantanona (@MantanonaBeau) February 16, 2022
“I just use it as fuel, you know, maybe I haven’t done enough. I shouldn’t have left it in the referee’s hand, or something so small could have lost me. So, I’m just looking to improve and get back in the room.
However, Beau says it would go a long way if CIF could provide him with some sort of explanation.
“I never got an explanation that I just thought I wanted and they put a kid’s hand up and they left and it left me kind of in shock.”
— Brandy Flores (@_brandyflores) March 3, 2022