The Del Norte girls wrestling team held its first dual ever on Tuesday, in the first year of existence for the Warriors girls-only grappling squad. The Warriors fielded a squad of seven wrestlers against a McKinleyville team that only had three wrestlers, and came away with an easy 30-8 victory.
With an extra four wrestlers in its lineup, Del Norte basically had a 24-0 lead due to forfeits before the match even began.
“We outnumbered them as far as wrestlers, but that isn’t our problem,” said Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad. “You bring your squad, you put your best foot forward.”
It was Del Norte fans’ first chance to see the Warrior girls in action since the first tournament of the season.
“I had fun watching it. I have fun coaching them too, but it is nice to have a chance to watch,” Schaad said. “It was good for the girls to go out and show that they are wrestlers — it wasn’t just pushing people around. They are really good wrestlers and they train just like the boys do, in the same stuff. It was fun to let them show their talents to the home crowd, and I think the crowd really appreciated it — they were excited.”
Del Norte’s Jenny Schaad got the Warriors going in the first contested match of the night and picked up a quick pin of McKinleyville’s Anastasiya Briggs in just 52 seconds in the 116 pound match.
“Jenny had a great match,” Clinton Schaad said. “She looked good and got us off to a nice start winning by fall there.”
After the 116 pound match Emily Ricks (126) and Claire Taylor (131) picked up forfeits to push the Warriors’ lead to 18-0.
In the 150 pound match Hailey Stover ended up falling behind early against Dakota Spirit of the Panthers, but came roaring back and almost pulled out the win in the closing seconds. Stover trailed 19-7 late in the third period after a reversal put Spirit in the top position with less than a minute remaining, but Stover managed to get a reversal to go back on top. With about 15 seconds left Stover finally got Spirit onto her back and nearly secured a pin before time expired.
At the end of the match Spirit still held a lead, but the score had closed to 19-12 leaving McKinleyville with just a win by decision and still trailing 18-3.
“Hailey had a good match,” Schaad said. “I think there are some really simple critics on what she did right and wrong, and it will be a different outcome. She was almost there, it is just little stuff like staying on your feet a little longer, or push a little differently.
“She fought really hard the whole time though and finally got the girl on her back late in the third. The crowd and all of us thought she had the pin but the ref didn’t see it that way. That happens, but it was exciting.”
The last competitive match of the night in the girls dual pitted Autumn Turner against one of the best female wrestlers in the Humboldt-Del Norte League in the 160 pound match.
“Autumn Turner ran into (Audriana) Beattie who is one of the top performers,” Schaad said. “She is signed to go wrestle for somebody in college already and she is a senior. Autumn is a sophomore. She did her best and worked hard, but that girl is really good and Autumn is two years behind her.”
Beattie ended up picking up the win by technical fall by a score of 20-3.
The girls dual then wrapped up with Ashley Turner (179) and Danika Scott (235) accepting wins by forfeit.
“It is our first win as a dual meet team ever. That is a good way to start,” Schaad said. “We are going to be on the other side of the coin next week against Eureka because they have a full squad and we only have seven right now. The girls work hard and they are going to do their best through. Sometimes you just have to look at head to head matches.”
The Del Norte girls are scheduled to take on Eureka in a dual on Jan. 17, but before that they will be back in action at their first tournament since the start of Winter Break.
The Warrior girls be heading to Rogue River for a tournament on Saturday. Schaad said the tournament in Rogue River wasn’t advertised as a girls tournament, but organizers are trying to get as many female wrestlers in town as possible with the goal of setting up some round robin brackets similar in style to Del Norte’s home tournament this year.
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .