All the tumult of Del Norte High wrestling’s 2012–13 season was left at the doors of Eureka High School’s Jay Willard Gymnasium, the site of the Humboldt-Del Norte League Wrestling Championships, on Saturday. The Warriors now have a pair of two-time league champions and four more California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section qualifiers to show for their efforts in the face of adversity.
Del Norte High junior Hawk Mattz, above, attempts to submit Fortuna’s Dallas Letterman during the 152-pound championship match at the Humboldt-Del Norte League Wrestling Championships, held Saturday at Eureka High School in Eureka. Mattz won in a 9-7 decision. Del Norte Triplicate / Robert Husseman
“I feel like it’s finally paying off, all the time we put in,” Del Norte junior Robert Boulby said.
Boulby, at 145 pounds, and junior Hawk Mattz (152 pounds) each won their second consecutive HDN championship as the Warriors finished third as a team. McKinleyville High won the team championship, with Eureka High coming in second place. (Point totals were unavailable at press time.)
“It’s not really a bad day,” Del Norte coach Aaron Schaad said. “There are a couple matches I wish we could’ve won, but it just happens. We won some that were pretty close, too.”
Juniors Skiler Haddad (126 pounds), Eric Turner (160), David Plechaty (195) and Cristian Puente (heavyweight) also qualified for the NCS Boys Wrestling Championships by finishing second or third in their respective weight classes. The NCS championships will be held Friday and Saturday at Newark Memorial High School in Newark. In all, six of the 11 Del Norte wrestlers that competed Saturday advanced to sectional competition. (The Warriors did not have wrestlers at 170, 182, and 220 pounds.)
Boulby fell behind early against McKinleyville’s David Poston in the 145-pound final, trailing 2-1 after two rounds. He executed a successful reversal on Poston at the 4:30 mark of the match, eventually winning 5-2.
“The last time I wrestled (Poston) he threw me,” Boulby said. “I kept my hips back so he wouldn’t (grab them and) throw me.”
Mattz also fell behind to his championship-round opponent, Dallas Letterman of Fortuna High, but stormed ahead with a takedown and three hold-down points for a 9-4 lead after two periods. Mattz eventually won the match, 9-7.
Haddad won his first-round match and lost in the second round, facing Michael Gerace of St. Bernard’s Catholic High for third place. Haddad pinned Gerace in 47 seconds to qualify for sectionals.
Turner made it to the 160-pound final against Matt Jones of St. Bernard’s. He fell behind 6-0 early but stormed back in the second period to tie the match at 6-6. Jones took down Turner in the third period, eventually winning the match 11-6.
“He lost a heartbreaker there,” Schaad said. “Things didn’t go his way. He’s tough. He’ll rebound.”
Plechaty won one match to enter the finals at 195 pounds but lost by fall to McKinleyville’s Jason Price in 38 seconds.
Puente, one of three entrants in the heavyweight division, lost his only match to Hoopa’s Robert Dorgan by fall in 56 seconds. He was initially slotted at 220 pounds but moved up to heavyweight to take advantage of the open position.
Junior Hunter Mattz, a late substitute into the Warriors’ lineup after Jackson Evans (knee injury) was unable to compete, finished fourth at 138 pounds, going 1-2 in contested matches.
“He scored points for our team,” Schaad said. “I was proud of him. He stepped up.”
Sophomore Nicole Mattz (106 pounds) and freshman Justin Schrader (113) finished fourth in their respective weight classes as well. Schrader went 2-2 in his contested matches, while Mattz went 0-2.
Mattz will be competing in the CIF Girls Wrestling State Individual Championships, held Friday and Saturday in Lemoore. Schrader will serve as an alternate if any of the three NCS-qualifying 113-pounders are unable to compete at sectionals.
Kaleb Hurley (132 pounds) and Wyatt Duncan (120) also competed for the Warriors.