The Del Norte wrestling team was a little bit shorthanded on Friday and Saturday at the Anderson Invitational. Due to sickness and holiday travel, the Warriors had 12 wrestlers, compete with six placing in the top eight at the 30-team tournament.
"All the kids wrestled well," said Del Norte assistant coach Clinton Schaad. "They performed better, and they seemed to have more technique and better technique than they did at Grants Pass."
Del Norte ended up in 11th place as a team, just 1.5 points from cracking the top 10.
"We had some close matches that we would like to have back, but that is the way that it goes," Schaad said. "We won some close ones too."
Senior Eric Turner finished with the highest placement for the Warriors, taking third place in the 182-pound bracket.
"He lost to the kid from Eureka in the semifinals," Schaad said. "Other than that, he pinned everybody or got a technical fall."
Freshman Willie Gensaw lost a close 2-1 decision in the third-place match to finish fourth at 106 pounds.
Hawk Mattz took fifth at 160 pounds. Chris Puente and Robin Pearce each finished sixth at 220 and 152 pounds respectively. Nicole Mattz rounded out the Warriors place winners, finishing eighth at 113 pounds.
Del Norte had three other wrestlers reach the second day of the tournament but lost their first match. The three wrestlers that were knocked out in the first day were able to wrestle in a secondary JV tournament on Saturday.
"They weren't full 2-minute rounds; they were one-minute rounds, but they were able to get some more wrestling in," Schaad said. "That is what it is all about right now."
The Anderson Tournament was the first live wrestling that the team has done since it traveled to Grants Pass on Dec. 21. Although the team took a break over the holidays, the team was able to get some practice in for the second half of the season as well.
"We introduced some new techniques to them just before we went to the tournament just to give them something new to look at, and we actually saw it translate onto the mat, which is always nice to see," Schaad said.
Schaad is hoping that Del Norte can continue that improvement over the final two months of the season. Although the Warriors have a young team this season, they are starting to move beyond the fundamentals in practice.
"We are getting past the beginning stuff, and we are going to be working on higher techniques but less of them,"Schaad said. "We will focus on one or two things, andwrestle it."
The Del Norte grapplers will be back on the mat on Saturday for the Eureka Tournament.
Reach Michael Zogg at email@example.com.