By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
NEWARK Roger "Bronc" McCovey and Jake Young are Bakersfield bound.
Both Del Norte High wrestlers will compete in the state wrestling championships, which begin Friday in Bakersfield.
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 at Newark High on Friday and Saturday to earn a berth at 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.
"I was still happy, but I was hoping for the pin" (in the championship match), he said.
Young, a senior, made several do-or-die comebacks as he placed fourth at the NCS at 215. The top four finishers in each weight division earn a berth at state.
"It was an exciting weekend," Warrior head coach Aaron Schaad said.
The Warriors placed 11th overall out of more than 75 teams. Last year they placed 16th.
Young went 2-1 on Friday, losing 3-1 to Drew Carpenter of Foothill, who eventually placed second overall.
That meant he had to win his first three matches on Saturday if he wanted any shot at going to state.
In his first match on Saturday, Young found himself down 6-0 after the first period to Jordan Felix of De La Salle. He battled back and trailing with only three seconds left, Young made a take down to come back for the 9-8 win.
He then proceeded to defeat Brian Agenbroad of Willits 5-3, and in his third match outlasted Anthony Gordon 3-1 in overtime.
In the third place match he lost to Jeff McGee of Alhambra 5-3, but still earned fourth and a berth in state.
"It was heart pounding," Schaad said about the tough matches Young had on Saturday. "I think he did really well. It was a long, long day."
Schaad said Young had about 45 minutes after each match before he had to wrestle again.
He commended him for never giving up and having the will and determination to win when his season was on the line.
"I think it came down to him wanting it more than the other kids," Schaad said.
Young said he is ecstatic that he has made his goals this season. They were to make it to state, place at the NCS and win a Humboldt-Del Norte Conference White Star.
He accomplished all of this despite missing the start of the season due to a broken leg suffered during a varsity football game in the fall.
"I'm happy about placing," Young said. "I'm just going to go down (to Bakersfield) and wrestle hard."
Schaad said McCovey continued his dominating ways at the NCS championships, placing first for the second year in a row. Schaad said the expectation is for McCovey to place and hopefully win at state, but he added, anything can happen and McCovey has to remain focused on the task at hand.
"It feels good to win and I feel better than I did last year," McCovey said. He added that he was battling the flu when he won at the NCS championships last season. In his first match in state, McCovey became ill and could not continue.
He said he is determined to do well at state, hopefully winning the heavyweight championship, which is his goal. McCovey said it would be nice if he could win all his matches in Bakersfield by pin.
Young is going down to state unranked.
Schaad said he expects Young "to give 100 percent" and said regardless of what happens in Bakersfield he is proud of him for not giving up at the NCS and fulfilling his goal of making state.
Two other Del Norte wrestlers made it to the second day of the NCS on Saturday. Jordan Lacy (103) lost to the wrestler that was ranked No. 3 in the tournament in his division. Lacy fell by pin.
Schaad said Lacy, only a freshman, did a good job and scored points before being pinned. Junior Kai Lemrise (152) also wrestled well but lost by technical fall.
Schaad said he is pleased to have two wrestlers heading to state.
"I'm excited to go down to Bakersfield and see how this turns out," Schaad said.
Two other HDNC wrestlers are also heading to Bakersfield.
At 140, Trent Stevenson of Arcata took first at the NCS. At 189, Mike Larson of McKinleyville took first place.