By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
The Del Norte High wrestling team had an excellent showing at the North Coast Classic in Eureka on Saturday, placing third and having four wrestlers win their respective weight classes.
Andrew Walker (103), Jake Young (189), Roger McCovey (215), and Sherman Norton (285) garnered first in their respective divisions.
"The kids are wrestling well," assistant coach Clinton Schaad said. "We had a good tournament."
McCovey faced a familiar opponent in the finals fellow Warrior and daily sparring partner Phillip Bailey. McCovey was able to pin Bailey in the third round.
It was surreal and comedic at first that they would be facing each other, Bailey said.
But when it was time to face each other on the mat, they were focused on the task at hand.
"We decided to wrestle like it was just another match," Bailey said. "I just tried to do my best. .... He's just a solid rock and you do what you can with what you got. He's just a great wrestler."
McCovey agreed that it was "kind of weird" to wrestle his daily grappling partner, but said he just went out and wrestled, although it was different going up against someone "that knows everything I do," he said.
To be neutral, the coaches did not shout out advice to the wrestlers like they normally do.
"We let them figure it out themselves," Schaad said. "They know how to wrestle."
Schaad complimented Norton for wrestling tough on Saturday as he defeated Ferndale wrester John Thurston in a 3-2 triple-overtime decision.
Norton had never defeated Thurston before, losing by only a single point on several occasions.
"It's been a good battle for him," Schaad said.
Other Warrior wrestlers that performed well included Grant Ivison, who placed fourth in the 112-pound division.
Joey Kravitz (145) placed third and Kai Lemrise (140) placed fourth.
Originally, the Warriors were not scheduled to wrestle again until Jan. 30, when they face Ferndale at Arcata.
Recently, the coaches decided it was important for the squad to have another tournament under its belt.
Last week, the coaches scheduled a tournament in Ukiah that takes place on Saturday.
"There's no substitute for live wrestling," Schaad said. "When there's a live, unknown opponent, there's nothing like it. It makes you better."
Facing live competition, especially those you have not faced before, helps a wrestler learn how to adapt and what it's like to face a wide variety of wrestlers with different skill sets, he said.
At the tournament on Saturday, many Del Norte grapplers wore "119 JL" on their wristbands. This was a way to remember Josh Lacy, whose memorial service was the night before.
Lacy, a freshman wrestler, died on Jan. 13, the day after he was struck by a hit-and run driver.
"He's always in our thoughts," Schaad said.