The Del Norte girls wrestling team was in action for just the second time this season on Saturday at the Girls Grants Pass Winter Kickoff.
“The girls did great this weekend,” said Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad. “Of course individually they would probably tell you they coulda, shoulda, woulda done better, but overall in watching them wrestle they had a great tournament. It was only their second tournament of the year for them still.”
The girls competition in Grants Pass was just a one-day tournament, and the Warriors had four of their seven wrestlers reach the podium as the team finished in fifth place overall.
Schaad said the girls team is still inexperienced, but they aren’t intimidated.
“One thing I thought that the girls really showed — and some of their male counterparts needed to show — was that tenacity and that drive,” Schaad said. “With the boys I wanted to see a little bit more fire out there. To go get them, and get after it. For the girls that is all that they did. They just went for it 100 percent.
“I think for a few of them they did a little bit too much in certain situations. They would get a takedown and be on top and they would almost slide off the top and fall onto the mat. They were a little bit out of control sometimes, but overall they did awesome. I am really excited for them.”
Schaad said that it is a good problem for a team of newcomers to have.
“At this point they are making some mistakes and being overzealous, but it is easier to bring that back a little bit and get it under control than to try to pump someone up that doesn’t have that type of nature,” Schaad said.
While the team as a whole was intense, Schaad said Danika Scott finished with the Warriors’ only tournament championship, in the 235 pound bracket, due in large part to her calm demeanor.
“She is very strong physically, and she has a great work ethic,” Schaad said. “She has been able to stay healthy and she has a good ability to absorb the information. All the girls do really, but Danika is able to pick it up and put it into practice.
“Where some of the other girls are getting excited and overzealous in matches Danika stays very calm and methodical. Someone told me she has done a lot of jujitsu before wrestling, so she kind of has that rolling around and body position already. I think that is helping her transition into this sport.”
Scott finished the day with a perfect 3-0 record, winning all three matches by pin in the first round.
Autumn Turner (170 pounds) and Ashley Turner (190) both ended up wrestling their way to fourth place finishes in Grants Pass.
Autumn Turner went 1-2 overall. Schaad said she opened the day trailing in her first match, but managed to take advantage of a mistake by her opponent from Crater and got a pin. In her last match of the day Autumn lost a rematch in a four-point decision against the same Crater wrestler.
“She lost the second one, but she was wrestling much better. Her opponent didn’t make the mistake that allowed Autumn to get the pin in the first match, but Autumn was wrestling more competitively with her throughout the match. That was good to see.”
Schaad said Hailey Stover cut enough weight to drop a class for the first time this season, and with several other competitors in her bracket missing weight she found herself in a small bracket in Grants Pass. Stover lost both of her matches, but still got onto the podium in third place.
“Hailey had some bright moments in her matches,”Schaad said. “Kind of the theme we saw was we were making small mistakes, and those small mistakes were costing us matches. She did a really good job though, she was smiling, and she had the desire to learn.”
Jenny Schaad went 1-2 for the tournament in the 120 bracket. Claire Taylor and Alyiah Rafalwski both went 0-2 in Grants Pass while Emily Ricks lost a tough first match and had to injury default out of the tournament.
The Del Norte girls will be back in action next weekend in Brentwood at the Brittany David Invitational. It is expected to be the biggest girls tournament so far this season for the Warriors.