By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
Roger "Bronc" McCovey and Jake Young have had a long history of wrestling together.
The Del Norte High wrestlers face each other in practice each day and challenged one other at countless tournaments as childhood members of the Del Norte Youth Wrestling Club.
On Wednesday, they left Crescent City to compete at the California Interscholastic State Championships, which begin Friday in Bakersfield.
"It's really cool he's going to state," McCovey said of Young. "He's one of my best friends. It's made a big difference wrestling him in practice. He has helped improve my level of skill."
McCovey, a junior, currently ranked as the No.1 heavyweight wrestler in the state, cruised to first place in his division at the North Coast Section Individual wrestling championships in the Bay Area last weekend to qualify for state.
McCovey pinned his first four opponents and downed Bud Guinn of Rancho Coate 18-3 in a technical fall in the finals. McCovey is now 36-0 for the season.
Young, a senior, made several impressive comebacks on Saturday as he placed fourth at the NCS at 215. If he'd lost any of his matches, his dream of going to state would had been over. The top four finishers in each weight division earned a berth at state.
"He's so good to work with," Young said about McCovey, adding having the No.1-ranked heavyweight in the state as your grappling partner is a great benefit for him. He said having someone with such skill helps a lot.
"He's always pushing me to improve," Young said. "He's tough even when it's just drills... He's an ogre. He's so strong and has such good technique."
Young began wrestling when he was in the 7th grade and quickly formed a bond with McCovey, who has been involved in the sport since he was 5 years old.
They faced each other numerous times when they were in youth wrestling at tournaments, although Bronc defeated Young every time but one.
When Young was 14 and McCovey 13, Young won by default, when during the match, McCovey broke his right leg and was out for that season.
To this day, a long scar can still be seen running down Bronc's right leg.
Ironically, last fall, as teammates on the Warrior football team, McCovey accidentally rolled on top of Young, breaking his right leg. The injury caused him to miss the start of the wrestling season.
"I felt bad," McCovey said. "When it happened I didn't think it was that serous."
"He's a good guy," Young said about McCovey. "He's always happy and smiling."
"I like wrestling with him," McCovey said about Young. "He's pretty quick and strong. He's a lot tougher than a lot of the guys I wrestle."
Young and McCovey, along with head coach Aaron Schaad, left Crescent City on Wednesday and planned to stop overnight halfway and make it to Bakersfield today.
Schaad said he wanted to give them time to settle in, practice and prepare for their big day on Friday.
Both Young and McCovey said they both really push each other during practice and said it can get intense, but there is never any hard feelings.
"He's really fun and is just cool," McCovey said, adding while Young can be very tough and focused on the mat, off it he is quite funny and goofy.
For information on the state championships on Friday and Saturday go to www.cifstate.org. The CIF site will also provide audio of the semifinal and finals matches.