It has been a few weeks since the Del Norte wrestling team has rolled around on the mat with a grappler from another team, but the Warriors were finally back in action on Friday, opening wrestling in 2018 at the NorCal Championships before wrapping up the tournament Anderson today.
Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad said that the tournament in Anderson is generally a little bit smaller than the Grants Pass Winter Kickoff, which drew 40 teams this year when Del Norte competed on Dec. 15–16. A few teams had to back out of the Winter Kickoff at the last minute, however, and Schaad said organizers in Anderson have been working to expand the NorCal Championships. So this weekend’s tournament may be the biggest yet for the young Warrior team.
Unlike the Grants Pass Winter Kickoff, the NorCal Championships does not have a junior varsity bracket, so every Warrior wrestler is battling in the varsity brackets.
Del Norte is hoping that it will be able to carry over the momentum the team generated prior to the Christmas break. Del Norte has placed in the top three of each of the first three tournaments of the season, including a first place finish at the McKinleyville Invitational. Schaad said the Warriors’ third place finish at the Winter Kickoff was the best team score at the tournament that he can remember.
“So far we have been in the top three of every tournament we have been too,” Schaad said. “The tournaments will get tougher so we may slide a little bit, but we should stay in that upper echelon of the teams there.”
Although Schaad wasn’t overly focused on team scores heading into the season, after the team has proven itself capable of putting points on the scoreboard the Warriors coach has raised the expectations a little bit.
“I think we should be in the top 10 at Anderson, in Eureka we should probably be in the top four or five, and depending on how those two go then we can re-evaluate for Ukiah.”
Following the NorCal Championships, the Del Norte wrestling team is kicking off the dual portion of its schedule. The Warriors first duals of the season will be on the road in McKinleyville on Wednesday. Del Norte is scheduled to face both McKinleyville and Hoopa at the meet.