Warriors kick off their postseason today
The Del Norte wrestling team is headed to the North Coast Section Dual Team Championships today in McKinleyville. The Warriors will compete in the DII Redwood Empire eight-team bracket.
“Hopefully we will represent well down there,” said Del Norte head coach Aaron Schaad. “There are some teams that we can beat, and there are some really good teams down there.”
The Warriors grabbed the eighth seed in the tournament. After finishing as co-league champs with Eureka and McKinleyville, the Loggers grabbed Humboldt-Del Norte’s top seed on tie breakers and will be the fourth seed overall at the NCS Duals.
It will be Del Norte’s first trip to the NCS Duals since 2012. It is the sixth time ever that the Warriors have qualified for the duals, which first started in 2005. Del Norte has placed twice, finishing fourth in 2006 and 2009.
The Warriors are expecting to see some solid competition. Two-time defending DII Redwood Empire champion Windsor, currently ranked 33rd in the state, is the second seed in the division. Del Norte will face top-seeded Terra Linda in the first round.
The tournament includes a consolation bracket, so after a team’s first loss, they will have an opportunity to wrestle for third place.
“We will get at least two duals, and I would be surprised if we didn’t win at least one,” Schaad said. “It is free matches. We don’t have to pay to be in it and we will get to see some good teams.”
Del Norte will have to wrestle without its regular starter at 113 pounds, junior Nicole Mattz. Mattz will head to Pittsburgh High School for the Girls North Coast Section Championships, where she is the second seed at 111 pounds.
Mattz will need to finish in the top three of the 15-girl bracket in order to advance to the state tournament. She qualified for state last year as a sophomore at 108 pounds with a third place finish.
“If she wrestles to her seed she should qualify for state and move on,” Schaad said.
Mattz enters the tournament with an 11-2 record against female competition. Her first round opponent, freshman Clare Smithy of Clayton Valley, has a record of 0-0 against girls this year according to the official NCS bracket ontrackwrestling.com.
Mattz finished third in the NCS Championships at 108 pounds last year.
Although Del Norte will be without Nicole Mattz in the duals, Schaad said the team will be able to fill out, the lineup. The hole left by Mattz, absence will likely be filled by her workout partner Marcus Henderson, who has wrestled at 120 pounds in most of the duals this year.
“Marcus Henderson will probably go in there and wrestle at 113,” Schaad said. “They have wrestled off before, and it is a really close match with them. Marcus will do fine in there.”
With Henderson moving down to 113 pounds, the 120-pound spot opens up, and Schaad said there are a couple wrestlers that could step into that spot.
“We have some kids that might be switching weight classes,” Schaad said. “We will have the weights filled.”