Showing more elasticity than Plastic Man, Dustin Clocherty stretched and strained the limits of the Southern Section Masters wrestling tournament.
When he finished his trademark bends, twists and turns, Clocherty, a senior at Ventura High, wrapped up the 135-pound title Saturday at Fountain Valley High.
Clocherty defeated Sal Garcia of Santa Fe, 10-8, and has a shot at a state title next Friday and Saturday at University of the Pacific in Stockton.
Clocherty (47-2) trailed in the first period, 3-2, but took the lead for good with a takedown early in the second.
His flexibility drove him to the top of the tournament.
"We call him Gumby," Ventura Coach Paul Clementi said. "I think he's double-jointed in everything but his neck. The fact that he's very flexible makes it hard for the big guys."
Clocherty, who needed a moment to put on his tongue ring after the match, wrestled with several injuries.
"Bad thumb, bad knee and two bad shoulders," he said.
What about that tape job on the right wrist?
"It's a little sore," admitted Clocherty, who finished fourth at last year's Masters. "But it feels great to come back and win this sucker."
The same couldn't be said by Ventura teammate Cristobal Gonzalez.
At 189 pounds, Gonzalez (51-3) was trying to become the first two-time Masters champion in school history, but fell in the championship match to Mike Bigrigg of Calvary Chapel, 5-4.
Gonzalez trailed, 5-1, on a pair of first-period takedowns by Bigrigg and, despite making a late run, never caught Bigrigg, who lost all five previous matches against Gonzalez this season.
"He beat me because I was too big-headed," said Gonzalez, who still qualified for the state tournament. "I'll be coming back, harder then ever. I'll take care of business next week."
Joe Martinez of Ventura took third at 215 pounds.
Chad Troxler of Simi Valley was upset early in the tournament by unheralded Hugo Hernandez of Millikan, who defeated Troxler in double overtime, 4-3.
Troxler failed to escape from Hernandez in the allotted 30 seconds of the second overtime and, as a result, was sent down into the consolation bracket.
"I went in there thinking I was just going to beat on him, because I pinned him [earlier this season], but I wrestled stupid and it caught up to me," Troxler said.
Troxler (50-5) redeemed himself in the third-place match against Hernandez with a 9-2 victory, breaking his school record for victories in a season.
"Hopefully, I got all the losses out today," said Troxler, who qualified for the state tournament.