After a strong opening day on Friday at the NorCal “Beast in the North” Tournament the Del Norte boys wrestling team struggled with a rough first round to open the day on Saturday in Anderson.

The Warriors had eight of the 13 wrestlers they entered still alive close to a spot on the podium, but Del Norte went just 2-5 in the round, while Tanner Stancliff was forced to forfeit his spot in the 152 pound consolation bracket due to an injury sustained in his last match on Friday.

“There is a saying that ‘Winning is contagious’ but at the same time losing can be contagious as well and I think that is what we ran into,” said Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad. “We came out on Saturday morning with a good attitude and everybody was ready to go out and wrestle, but we just kind of got snowballed. We just didn’t look good. It was pretty frustrating there in that first go.

“Day 1 was a really good day for the team, but on Day 2 we kind of came out and looked sluggish, slow and we just didn’t wrestle really well. There is no really good excuse for it — there is no one thing to point to to explain why we didn’t wrestle well. It was just one of those days. We just didn’t have it. We will go back to work this week and get things corrected.”

As a team, Del Norte finished in eighth place out of 43 teams. The Warriors team score of 109.5 points put them within 9.5 points of fourth place, and 15 points ahead of the tenth place team.

“We were as high as first in the first round or round and a half and we were in fourth place going into Day 2, but we slid to eighth,” Schaad said. “A year ago I would have said getting in the top 10 is a great tournament for us with 43 teams there, but we were capable of so much more. Even though we love being in the top eight, or the top 10 of a tournament like that we know we left points on the table — and they know that too. We aren’t disappointed necessarily with eighth place, but we know we are capable of more.”

Although it was a tough day overall for the Warriors, Del Norte did manage to come home with three placers in the tournament.

Braydon Henderson had perhaps his best tournament of the season as he battled all the way into the 182 pound finals before finishing in second place.

“Braydon Henderson had an outstanding tournament. As the No. 3 seed he had to come through and beat the No. 6 seed and the No. 2 seed to get to the finals.”

Henderson started the day with a close 3-1 win in sudden victory in his semifinal match.

“That was a really good match. Braydon was the aggressor, but he just couldn’t get a takedown,” Schaad said. “We were chasing the other kid around a little bit and got into the overtime round and Braydon stuck with his game plan. He forced the other wrestler into a bad shot because Braydon was tenacious in going after him. When his opponent tried to counter back Braydon was able to stuff him and get a take down for the win.

“In the finals it was 4-3 going into the third period, but he lost a few scrambles to fall behind. But he had a great match and a great tournament. We are really excited about Braydon because he is getting better at every tournament.”

Skyler Moore also had a strong tournament overall as he fought his way to third place in the 132 pound bracket. Moore started the day against a somewhat familiar foe, Jake Bergstrom of Foothill. Schaad said Moore and Bergstrom had a close battle last year in the Eureka Invitational in which Moore eventually lost in overtime on a stalling call.

The semifinal match in Anderson between Bergstrom and Moore was similarly competitive.

“Skyler went out there and wrestled really well and had a lead early on. They were going back and forth for most of the match and ended up going into overtime again. Skyler wrestled well and got in deep on a shot that he would usually finish about 90 percent of the time, but his opponent was really good.

“Skyler ended up getting a little out of step and they got into a bit of a scramble. Skyler usually wins those scrambles, but this guy just had it timed perfectly and ended up getting the take down for the win. Skyler was pretty upset about it, but it was a really good match.”

Although Moore lost his first match of the day, the Del Norte junior came back to grab a pair of pins in both of his next two matches to capture the consolation championship.

Chaz Harrison was the only other Warrior to pick up a win on Day 2 of the tournament. Harrison started off his day in the consolation of the 113 pound bracket and picked up a dominant 16-0 win by technical fall to start the day.

Harrison ended up falling in his next match and was beaten again in the seventh place match to finish in eighth place overall.

Cruz Cerros (120 pounds), Wyatt Schneck (138), Nolan Ridgely (145) and Justin Goudelock (160) all survived the first day of the tournament but were eliminated in their first match on Saturday — just one match away from the medal rounds.

The Del Norte girls wrestling team had the weekend off without girls brackets offered in Anderson. The entire Warrior wrestling program will be back in action today, however, with the teams’ first duals of the season with McKinleyville scheduled to come to Crescent City.

Wrestling is expected to kick off at 6:30 p.m. in Thunen Gymnasium with exhibition junior varsity matches.

The Del Norte girls wrestling team will then take the mat against a bit of a small squad from McKinleyville. Schaad said the Panthers have four girls wrestling this year, but some of them may wrestle in a coed lineup against the boys rather than in the girls dual.

After the girls dual the Del Norte boys will take the mat against McKinleyville.

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