Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Six wrestlers finish in 4th place or better; Warriors take 5th in first tournament

In its first live action of the 2012andndash;13 season, the Del Norte High wrestling team earned mostly positive marks at its flagship tournament.

The Warriors' varsity squad accrued 113 points for fifth place overall in the Battle At The Border wrestling tournament, held Saturday at Del Norte High School. Del Norte also fielded a junior varsity team that scored 13 points and finished 12th among the 12 teams in attendance.

Illinois Valley High of Cave Junction won the team title with 202 points, ahead of runner-up Grants Pass High's 182 and third-place Brookings-Harbor High's 125. Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League member Eureka scored 121.5 points to claim fourth place.

"I think we did well overall. (The kids) expect to do better, but that's okay," Warriors assistant coach Clint Schaad said. "As far as being able to transition between practice and a live match, we (have a lot) to work on."

Del Norte rose as high as third place in the team scoring with finals yet to be played out in the 14 weight classes. Four wrestlers were vying for individual titles, hoping to add to the team score.

Ultimately, all four fell short. Robert Boulby lost a 4-2 decision to Illinois Valley's Logan Miller at 145 points. Jackson Evans took Grants Pass' Kjell Thorsen to the wire in the 152-pound final, but was pinned after 5 minutes and 38 seconds of wrestling. At 160 pounds, Hawk Mattz lost a 6-2 decision to Illinois Valley's T.J. Hughey, and Eureka's Kolton Martin bested Del Norte's Eric Turner in a 13-3 decision in the 182-pound final.

Each loss hurt. Of course, with the Warriors yet to enter the meat of their schedule, time will salve the wounds.

"We expect our first tournament to show where our weak spots and strong spots are," Schaad said. "(The kids are) still getting excited and not transitioning from move to move well. They're getting caught up (in moves)."

Early losses also plagued Del Norte, as wrestlers entered consolation brackets halfway to double elimination. Nonetheless, many fought their way through. Warriors heavyweight Cristian Puente survived a first-round loss to ultimately finish fourth. At 220 pounds, Del Norte's David Plechaty recovered from a semifinal defeat to pin Grants Pass' James Jarrett in 3:46 and claim a share of third place.

Luis Rea wrestled his way to a tie for fifth place at 120 pounds, and Wyatt Duncan (126 pounds) and Skiler Haddad (132 pounds) tied for seventh place in their respective weight classes. Nicole Mattz tied for seventh place at 106 pounds with teammate Marcus Henderson, competing as a member of Del Norte's junior varsity lineup.

Wade Mayes also placed for the Warriors at 220 pounds, tying for seventh. Ryan Gomes (160 pounds), Robin Pearce (152 pounds), Kaleb Hurley (132 pounds), Justin Schrader (120 pounds) and John Simpson (106 pounds) also competed with the junior varsity. Roberto Aguilar competed at 195 pounds for Del Norte varsity.

The Warriors travel to McKinleyville on Saturday for a one-day tournament, then head to the Grants Pass Tournament for two days the following week.

Del Norte doesn't compete at home again until Jan. 30, but at the Battle At The Border, the Warriors put their best feet forward.

"We have to thank the volunteers," Schaad said. "It takes a lot (to run a tournament)."

Reach Robert Husseman at