Taking the Tiger by the tail

Triplicate Staff

DN dominates in HDN opener 68-12

With only three home events the entire year, the Del Norte wrestling team has striven to make a positive impression whenever it competes in Crescent City.

The Warriors certainly gave an enthusiastic group of home fans a lot to be impressed with Tuesday night, dominating the Arcata Tigers 68-12 in the Humboldt-Del Norte Conference opener.

Del Norte won six out of eight dual matches and earned six forfeit wins. The Warriors also had a victory in an exhibition match. The majority of the wins were by pin.

Last year, Del Norte went undefeated in the HDN regular season and took second overall at the HDN Championships.

"I was quite happy that the whole team wrestled well," head coach Aaron Schaad said.

With a young squad this year, it has taken time for the Warriors to

use what they learned at practice to consistently help them during

matches, Schaad said.

The most highly contested match of the evening was the final one.

Freshman Kaleb Hurley, who had not competed in the sport until this school year, was in a three-period battle at 132 pounds.

Down early, technical penalties called against his opponent helped Hurley take the lead.

The match went back and forth and was tied 10-10 late in

the final period. With around 20 seconds left Hurley earned two points

on a reversal on his way to a 13-10 victory.

When the match was over the crowd erupted into the loudest cheers of the night.

Hurley was not even aware he had won until Schaad told him.

"He had a big smile on his face," Schaad said.

Near the end of the match and with the scored knotted up, Hurley said

that "I was just fighting, trying to hang on." When the match ended,

"I thought I had lost," he said.

When he was told he had won, "it just blew my mind," Hurley said.

This was the second win of his young career. Hurley took up wrestling

because he was told it would help him with football. Now he loves his

new sport and "how intense it is."

At 138 pounds, Jackson Evans won by technical fall in the second

period for Del Norte. At 195 pounds, sophomore David Plechaty earned a

first round pin.

The pins continued for the Warriors when senior Austin Moore at 220

pounds took down his opponent in the first round. At 170 pounds,

sophomore Eric Turner also won by pin in the first period.

At 120 pounds, freshman Nicole Mattz won by pin in the second period.

The home meet attracted a decent-sized crowd, which Schaad said always means a lot to the wrestlers.

"We had a good turnout, which was nice to see," he said

Del Norte was scheduled to wrestle Ferndale also on Tuesday night, but the school did not field a team this season.

Hoopa, the HDN champions from last year, came to Crescent City to

wrestle Arcata on Tuesday. Del Norte and Hoopa will meet later in the

season at McKinleyville.

Hoopa dominated the Tigers, earning five pins.

On Saturday, Del Norte is back on the road again at a tournament at Winsdor in Sonoma County.

Next Tuesday, Del Norte will face Fortuna and St. Bernard's at home,

starting at 6:30 p.m. This will be the last home event of the year for

Del Norte, which hosted the annual Battle of the Border Tournament to

start the wrestling season in December.

Reach Bill Choy at bchoy@triplicate.com .

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