After going unbeaten in conference duals, Warriors win tourney
The Warriors’ wrestling team took the gold at the Humboldt-Del Norte conference championship on Saturday, and 10 Del Norte wrestlers will advance to this weekend’s North Coast Section championships.
The Warriors’ Austin Moore pinned Andrew Guisa of Eureka in the finals to win the 220-pound Humboldt-Del Norte championship Saturday night. Roger Schultz/Hot Shots Sports Photography
The Del Norte grapplers smashed the competition, earning 201 points, far ahead of second-place Eureka, which racked up 172.5 points. Third-place McKinleyville scored 170 points and Hoopa Valley took fourth with 131 points.
“Overall, we had a really good day,” said assistant coach Clinton Schaad. “We ended up winning it fairly sound.”
Progress was the name of the game for Del Norte at the tournament in Fortuna, with several Del Norte wrestlers improving on last year’s performances. The Warriors took second at last year’s conference championships.
Saturday brought their third league title in five years.
Nine Warriors placed in the top three slots, automatically earning them berths in the NCS individual championships. As a fourth-place alternate, Andrew Napier will be able to go to NCS, since the third-place winner cannot compete in the NCS tournament.
Sophomores Robert Boulby at 145 pounds and Jackson Evans at 132 pounds took first this year after placing second as freshmen last year. Boulby pinned his way through the tournament. Evans won his matches by pin or technical fall, including a 17-1 decision over Eureka’s Chris Arcani in the final bout.
The Del Norte Warriors wrestling team, 2012 Humboldt-Del Norte Conference champions. Roger Schultz/Hot Shots Sports Photography
“The kid (Arcani) was really tough,” Schaad said. “He was able to stay off his back enough to avoid the pin.”
Sophomore Hawk Mattz had a hard-fought win that went down to the wire in the 138-pound final. David Poston, freshman of McKinleyville, took down Mattz late in the third period to tie the match at 6-6. Mattz scored a point for an escape with 19 seconds remaining for a 7-6 win.
Senior Austin Moore pinned Andrew Guisa of Eureka in just 1 minute 11 seconds for a first-place title. Moore, who wrestled in youth leagues but just came back to the sport this year, had an impressive season.
“He’s come a long way this season,” Schaad said of Moore’s dominating performance. “He’s very aggressive on the mat and he doesn’t back up.”
A few seniors suffered “heartbreaking” losses Saturday, Schaad said.
Seniors Morgan Fischer at 126 pounds and Isaac Terry at heavyweight lost in the finals and had to settle for second place. To get to the championship match, Fischer defeated Jared Lack of South Fork, who had beaten Fischer twice earlier this year. In the final match, Fischer was pinned in the first period.
Terry lost a close match in the finals to Josh Hanson of Eureka, who Terry beat in last year’s championships.
Sophomores Eric Turner at 170 pounds and David Plechaty at 190 pounds also took second after getting pinned in the first period of their championship bouts. Turner’s opponent in the final match, Orion Cosce of Hoopa, was selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Upper Weights.
“They’re only sophomores and they made it into the finals,” Schaad said. “That’s pretty impressive in itself.
Noah Timoshenko took third place at 120 pounds, advancing to this weekend’s NCS championships. Napier took fourth place at 182 pounds but will still be able to compete in the NCS tournament since Frankie Arroyo of Eureka cannot go to the competition at Newark Memorial High School.
With 10 wrestlers heading south this weekend for the NCS, the Warriors were at practice Monday night while their peers had President’s Day off.
Schaad said the big tournaments the wrestlers compete in throughout the season help out when it comes to the championship tourneys.
“It preps them all year long for this one so it’s just another tournament,” Schaad said. “We tell them to focus on one match at a time and go out there and do your best.”
Schaad gave a “hats off” to all the students and parents who helped out this year and said he looks forward to going down to Newark to represent Del Norte.