By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
On the surface it was another nice showing by the Del Norte High wrestling team.
The squad finished fourth overall at the Arcata Rotary Wrestling Tournament on Saturday and had four wrestlers win their weight class the most of any team.
But what these players and coaches were going through behind the scenes was far more difficult and tragic than any stats that will ever show up on any scorecard.
Only 15 minutes before the tournament started, the team received the news that teammate Josh Lacy had passed away.
Lacy, 15, was struck by a hit-and-run driver while waiting for a bus Friday morning.
He was airlifted to a hospital in Portland, Ore., where he died Saturday morning.
Head coach David Bokor gave the news of Josh's death to the team.
While it was obviously a shock, Bokor commended his team for going out and wrestling to the best of its abilities.
"They wrestled well considering what happened," he said, commending them for their mindset and determination.
Andrew Walker (103), Jake Young (189), Roger McCovey (215) and Sherman Norton (285), each won their respective divisions.
Grant Ivison (112) and Kai Lemrise (145) each made it to the finals of their weight division.
"It was pretty hard, but you just have to keep on going," Young said. For him, while it certainly was difficult knowing what had happened, it was important to keep on going and wrestle well.
"We knew what we had to do," h e said. "But it was still on our minds. We wish he was still here."
Bokor said it puts into perspective the insignificance of something like wrestling and winning tournaments when a tragic loss of someone so young with such a bright future happens.
"You better enjoy what you have now because you never know when it's not going to be there," Bokor said.
He said each wrestler is handling the loss in their own unique way.
Bokor has on many occasions described the wrestling squad as one big close-knit family.
When a family loses someone in a tragic manner like this, it's never easy.
"It hurts deeply," he said. "The world is a lesser place for the loss... I feel so bad for his family."
On Monday, Josh's mother Carlene Lacy spoke to the Triplicate abut her son.
She reflected on how quickly things can change in life.
"I don't know how he goes from being in the sports section one week to just being gone the next," she said.
Josh, only a freshman, was considered one of the Warrior's top wrestlers. He had several strong showings at tournaments and had already gained his teammates respect for his toughness and determination on the mat and his friendliness and good sense of humor off it.
"He couldn't lose, he mentally couldn't lose at anything," Carlene Lacy said.
She recalled that once, right before he wrestled at a dual meet, Josh bought some Pop Tarts to hold him over until after his match.
He noticed that his opponent was hungry too and offered him one of his Pop Tarts.
The Warriors wrestle at home at 7 p.m. tonight versus Eureka, who won the Arcata tournament on Saturday.
Hoopa High also plans to participate.
Nicholas Grube contributed to the story.