Del Norte wins HDNC title for 2nd straight year
ARCATA — The Del Norte High wrestling team won their second straight conference championship with ease on Saturday.
Del Norte High senior wrestler Roger “Bronc” McCovey, top, during the Humboldt-Del Norte Conference championships in Arcata on Saturday. McCovey was one of five Warriors who took first place. Photo courtesy of Teela Robison
The team earned five Humboldt-Del Norte Conference first place White Stars and finished with a total of 205 team points.
The next closest squad was Eureka with 172 points.
“I was really proud of the kids’ efforts,” head coach Aaron Schaad said. “The kids wrestled extremely hard.”
The Warriors, who won the regular season title with a record of 8-0 were so dominant on Saturday that they earned enough points to gain the title before any of the finals matches began.
Five Warrior wrestlers took first place in their respective divisions to earn White Star honors.
At 112, senior Grant Ivison-Lane dominated the competition, pinning all his opponents in the first round to earn his White Star.
At 130, junior Shane Endamano took first as the No. 2 seed.
Schaad said that Endamano, who is only in his second year of wrestling, looked sharp and wrestled a terrific match in the finals.
“I was impressed,” Schaad said, adding Endamano was top-notch in the title match using sound technique like finding ideal body position to come away with the victory.
“It’s what I’ve been working towards all season,” Endamano said. “I’m pretty happy.”
At 145, senior Joey Kravitz won a White Star.
He originally started the year at 135. Schaad said Kravitz did an excellent job in earning his second straight White Star.
At 189, freshman Barrick Sala, the No. 3 seed, was a surprise White Star with his first place finish.
Barrick Sala poses with his first place medal for taking the 189 division. Photo courtesy of Teela Robison
Schaad said that Sala, whose winning percentage was around .500 this year, came out and showed great grit, determination and terrific athletic ability to earn a White Star.
“He was really aggressive,” Schaad said. “He believed he could win.”
“It feels really good,” Sala said, adding it was quite surreal when he took the HDNC crown at 189.
“I was just waiting to wake up from a dream,” he said. “It was really exciting.”
At 285, senior Roger “Bronc” McCovey won first place with ease for another White Star.
McCovey has not been taken down this year and has not lost a match.
He is the defending state heavyweight champion and is considered one of the best wrestlers in the entire nation.
A total of 10 out of the 14 grapplers from Del Norte placed third or higher, qualifying for the North Coast Section championships, which take place on Friday and Saturday at Newark High School in the Bay Area.
The top four finishers in each weight class go on to the state championships in Bakersfield the following week.
The entire Del Norte High wrestling squad after taking its second straight HDNC title on Saturday in Arcata. Photo courtesy of Teela Robison
At 103, sophomore Jordan Lacy took second, losing to Tyrin Stevenson of McKinleyville, a ranked North Coast Section grappler in the finals.
At 125, Greg Kirby took second, falling to Ivan Cardoza of Fortuna, a highly ranked wrestler in his division in the NCS.
At 160, Warrior Kai Lemrise took second.
The four Del Norte wrestlers who took fourth place in their respective divisions still have a chance at competing at the NCS championships.
Schaad said these four wrestlers are alternatives. If any other NCS wrestlers who placed are unable to compete they have a chance to take their place.
McCovey is the top-ranked grappler at 285 at the NCS championships and Lacy is the other ranked Warrior at No. 8 in the 103 division.
This is the sixth HDNC title for Del Norte, which previously won in 1971, 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2008.