After a strong first day at Liberty High School on Friday during the Del Norte boys wrestling team’s first trip back for the Lou Bronzan Invitational in about 10 years, the Warriors slipped a little bit in the team standings but managed to stay in the top 10 out of the 61 school represented in Brentwood at the boys tournament.
The Warriors were lead by seven wrestlers that managed to place in the top eight in their respective weight classes, with most of the 13 boys entered in the tournament scoring team points as Del Norte took 8th place overall with 115. Del Norte was in fifth place at the beginning of the day.
“We had a really good weekend,” said Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad. “There was a lot of good wrestling. They looked like a totally different team than the one we had in Grants Pass. They wrestled better, they worked harder, and they had a much different attitude and focus, which is what we were hoping to see. Overall we wrestled really well. It was a lot of winning, and a lot of fun.”
The Warriors were once again led by junior Skyler Moore, who started Saturday with an important 6-2 win by decision in the semifinal round to earn a spot on the 138 pound finals. Moore ended up losing by fall in the finals to Jose Fernandez, of Upper Lake, who is still undefeated so far this season and ranked No. 6 in the entire state.
“Skyler ran into a kid in the finals who is an absolutely outstanding wrestler,” Schaad said. “Skyler hasn’t really had a chance to wrestle against that level of competitor. He is one of the top kids in the state, and probably one of the top kids in the country. That is the type of match that we wanted. We want to go down there and wrestle the best kids that we can find.”
Justin Goudelock started his day in the semifinals of the 170 pound bracket where he lost by fall to the eventual tournament champion, Ethan Ownby of Durham. Goudelock was able to bounce back in the consolation semifinals with a close 8-6 win by decision. In the third place match Goudelock lost by fall to finish in fourth place overall.
“I have not seen Justin wrestle better all season in some of his matches,” Schaad said. “The match to get into the semis was a one-point match, but he was in control the whole time.”
Both Nolan Ridgely (145) and Tanner Stancliff (152) managed to finish in sixth place overall in their weight classes in Brentwood. Stancliff started Saturday facing elimination but picked up a 7-3 win by decision, followed by a 9-2 decision to secure a place on the podium. Stancliff ended up losing by fall in the consolation semifinals against the same wrestler that knocked him out of the championship bracket, and dropped a close 4-0 decision in the fifth place match.
Ridgely had a bit of a rough day Saturday, but still managed to make it onto the podium after going undefeated on Friday. Ridgely kicked off the day in the semifinals of the 145 pound bracket before losing three straight matches to take sixth place in the weight class. Although he lost three matches, they were to the wrestlers who finished 2nd, 4th and 5th in the tournament.
“Nolan was probably our biggest surprise of the tournament,” Schaad said. “He came out in the first day and wrestled outstanding and actually pinned the No. 2 seed to make the semis. He had a couple tough matches in a row on Saturday, but for him to make the podium is good for him. Now he knows what he is capable of.”
Del Norte senior Wyatt Schneck took 7th place in the 138 pound bracket. Schneck started the day strongly with an 18-4 major decision in his first match of the day, before a 9-5 loss knocked him into the seventh place match. Schneck finished the tournament strong with a win by fall in his last match to claim 7th place.
“Wyatt had a great tournament,” Schaad said. “His two losses were to the kids that took third and fourth. He worked really hard.”
Although Schneck finished the tournament on the podium with a 4-2 record, including three pins, his point total was not included with the rest of the Del Norte team because he was in the same bracket at Moore. Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad has said that the plan is for Schneck and Moore, two of the team’s better wrestlers, to eventually split into different weight classes later in the season.
Braydon Henderson also came through the consolation bracket to earn a medal. Henderson started the day facing elimination but won two straight decisions to secure a spot in the medal round. Henderson lost a major decision in the consolation quarterfinals to drop out of the running for third place, but bounced back with a win in the seventh place match to finish 5-2 for the tournament.
“He came down a weight class this week from 195 to 182 and it was a much better fit for him,” Schaad said. “He had a fantastic day and ended up winning five matches.”
Chaz Harrison scored 13 teams points while starting 5-2 for the weekend. Harrison lost a close decision in his first match on Friday before rattling off five straight wins between Friday and Saturday. Harrison ended being knocked out of the consolation quarterfinals as well. Unfortunately, Schaad said there was no seventh place match on the bracket so the team mistakenly thought Harrison’s day was done and he left the tournament to start heading home with his parents. Therefore, he had to forfeit the seventh place match, but still finished with an eighth place medal.
The Del Norte boys team got a lot of contributions from other wrestlers who didn’t make the podium, but still piled up some wins over the two days. Daniel Armendariz also had a strong tournament going 3-2 in the 132 pound bracket, including three pins. Brandon Jones went 3-2 at 195 pounds, and Poy Aguilar was 3-2 in the 220 pound bracket. All three Warriors ended up just one win short of reaching the podium.
With the trip to Brentwood at an end, the Del Norte wrestling team will have a couple weeks off before heading to Anderson for the Nor Cal Championships on Jan. 4-5. The Warriors were originally scheduled to kick off their duel season on Jan. 2 against Fortuna, but both teams decided to reschedule the duel with both squads planning on wrestling in Anderson just two days later.
“It was just an awkward time for both of us because we were going to have to hit the road the next day,” Schaad said. “We know it is going to be a good, hard-fought duel meet so we want to have time to prep. We don’t want to have the holidays right before. We want to make sure everyone is ready.