By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
FREMONT Roger "Bronk" McCovey proved to a crowd full of Bay Area wrestling fans on Saturday that without a shadow of a doubt he is one of the best, if not the best, wrestlers in the state in the heavyweight (285) division.
The Del Norte High junior grappler cruised to the championship title at the two-day Mission San Jose Tournament in Fremont, which is considered one of the top tournaments in the state.
To gain the title and remain undefeated for the season, he soundly defeated the No.1 ranked heavyweight in the state, the previously undefeated Jonathen Zamora of Clovis High pinning him in front of a surprised crowd in one minute, one second. Zamora finished second at state last year at 285.
"It felt really great," McCovey said. "My whole body was shaking." He added he even surprised himself by defeating Zamora so quickly, thinking the match would likely last the entire three rounds.
"He was the No.1 wrestler in the state," McCovey said.
"The entire place went crazy," Warrior assistant coach Clint Schaad said. "He was the underdog."
Before the tournament, McCovey was ranked No.3 in the state. Updated rankings have not come out yet, but Schaad said he believes McCovey should be in the No.1 spot and at least at No.2.
McCovey went 5-0 to go to 27-0 for the season and was never truly threatened in all of his matches.
"He looked dominant, real dominant," Schaad said, especially against Zamora. "He (Zamora) didn't even look like he was in the same league."
While the triumphant victory meant a lot to McCovey, he said he grasps that he has to continue to focus and wrestle well if he wants to obtain his goals this year.
That includes placing at the North Coast Section Tournament and earning the right to go to state, which he made last year as only a sophomore. McCovey said he ultimately wants to place first and win the state crown at 285.
McCovey was not the only Warrior wrestler who did well in Fremont.
Senior Jake Young (215) placed fourth in his division, going 6-2.
His only losses were at the hands of the wrestler who finished third overall.
Young, who was previously unraked in the NCS, climbed up to third overall after Mission San Jose.
He did not wrestle until earlier this year, due to a broken leg suffered during a varsity football game last fall. And he was battling the flu, which several wrestlers, including McCovey, caught last week.
"It felt good," Young said about how he did. "I wanted to place and I did."
Despite feeling under the weather, Young said he put all that aside when he took to the mat and focused on each match,
"I knew what I had to do," he said, adding he hopes to continue to get better, earn a White Star in the Humboldt-Del Norte Conference, place at the NCS and go on to state.
Schaad said Young has worked hard to get back in wrestling shape and is finally getting healthy again.
"He's putting it together," he said, adding Young understands that as a senior, this is his last chance.
"There's no next year. It's now or never," Schaad said.
Other Del Norte wrestlers that performed well include junior Joey Kravitz (135). He went 3-2 and almost placed, but lost his final match 2-1.
Freshman Jordan Lacy (103) had a good showing and went 2-2 in the challenging tournament.
Del Norte wasn't the only local school to do well in Fremont.
Trent Stevenson of Arcata (140), considered one of the top grapplers in his division, placed first at the event.
Local fans have one last chance to see the Warriors in action at home this season on Wednesday night.
That's when Del Norte takes on Arcata and Ferndale in a dual meet at 7 p.m. at Thunen Gym.
Schaad said McCovey is expected to wrestle, with Arcata having a grappler in the heavyweight division.