Warriors secure a spot in the NCS Duals in February with 68-3 win over Huskies on senior night

The seniors on the Del Norte wrestling team had a memorable last meet in Thunen Gymnasium on Wednesday.

All six seniors scored points for the Warriors as Del Norte stormed to a 68-3 victory over Fortuna.

"Some of the matches were closer than what the score indicates," said Del Norte head coach Aaron Schaad. "What I like is that when we got into the third round, we won matches and we won by fall. That means that kids are getting into good enough shape that they can wrestle all the way through."

The seniors got the varsity meet started in style as senior Hawk Mattz gave Del Norte a 4-0 lead with a 13-4 major decision over Fortuna's Sammy Humphrey at 160 pounds.

Hawk's twin brother, Hunter Mattz, then took the mat to collect a Fortuna forfeit at 170. After another forfeit, senior Eric Turner worked Jasper Bernstein for a 15-2 major decision at 195 pounds to put Del Norte ahead 20-0. In the next match, senior Chris Puente got the first fall of the night, pinning Logan Griffis in 1:40.

Adan Brambila was the next senior to wrestle for Del Norte, facing James Clausen at 138. Brambila fell behind early, trailing 3-4 at the end of the first period.

Brambila and Clausen traded the lead back and forth the rest of the way. Clausen took an 8-7 lead with a takedown with 50 seconds left. Roughly 30 seconds later, Brambila was able to get a reversal and put Clausen on his back for the fall.

"I was a little bit nervous at first, but once I got into it, I started to get more fluid and I was able to get him onto his back," Brambila said.

Robin Pierce was the sixth and final senior to wrestle for the Warriors on Wednesday. He made quick work of Jimmy Sutherland, pinning him in 1:16.

"It is a little emotional just because we are seniors. We don't get to do it again," Pierce said. "This is our last chance. It turned out great, we went out there and beat them. It is an honor."

Del Norte collected four forfeits in the match for 24 of its points. The Warriors also had five wrestlers win by fall and two more win major decisions.

George Jobb and Colson Turner won by fall at 285 and 132 pounds, respectively.

"Colson Tuner came out and wrestled a lot better than he has been," Schaad said. "He was a lot more aggressive, he came after it. I have been kind of waiting for him to turn the page and get a little more aggressive and he definitely did."

The win over Fortuna guarantees Del Norte at least second place in the division and a trip to the North Coast Section Dual Championships in McKinleyville on Feb. 15.

"That will be nice because it is in McKinleyville," Schaad said. "I look at it as free matches. We will get to wrestle against some other schools and get to see who they have."

The Warriors will be back on the mat this weekend. Several varsity wrestlers will head south to the competitive Maria Carillo Tournament in Santa Rosa. The rest of the team will attend a Junior Varsity tournament in Willits.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.