By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY The Del Norte High wrestling team welcomes in a new season and a new head coach with its annual "Battle of the Border" Tournament this weekend.
On Saturday, the wrestling program, which has been dominant for many years and sent two grapplers to state last season, begins the year with the all-day tournament at the Del Norte High gym at 9 a.m.
The finals in all divisions are expected to begin around 5:30 p.m.
The event will feature teams from throughout California and Oregon.
This will be the first tournament for new Warrior head coach Aaron Schaad, who replaces longtime head coach Dave Bokor.
Schaad previously has been an assistant wrestling coach with the Warriors and has been wrestling since he was a 9-year-old with the Del Norte Youth Wrestling club.
He went on to a wrestling career at Del Norte High and wrestled while at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore.
Schaad said he's glad to contribute to a sport he has loved for so long in the community he grew up in.
"It's good to give back to the community," he said. "It's a good way for them to learn discipline, the value of hard work and working with others."
So far, Schaad said, there have been a decent number of kids taking part in the wrestling program, and they have been working hard to get ready for the season.
Around 25 to 30 wrestlers are estimated to take part once the season starts.
They are still missing around eight to 10 wrestlers who are playing varsity football.
This includes junior Roger McCovey, who wrestles in the 215-pound division.
Last year, he was ranked as one of the top wrestlers in the North Coast Sections and qualified for the state tournament in Bakersfield.
Schaad said he likes the potential of his squad and said he believes several wrestlers have the chance to make it to sections and a few to state.
The Battle of the Borders Tournament is a good way to get the returning wrestlers back into the flow of competition and to give the newcomers live tournament experience, Schaad said.