The script was flipped on the Del Norte girls wrestling team in its second dual ever. After using superior numbers to overwhelm McKinleyville for a lopside win last week, the Eureka girls outnumbered the Warriors on Thursday and came away from Crescent City with a 60-12 dual win over Del Norte.
“Eureka is a tough team. They have some good coaches and they are tough,” said Del Norte coach Heath Schaad. “They come in and they mix it up. Our kids aren’t used to the head butting and slapping the head and that type stuff. They have to be prepared and ready for it though, because it is coming. In Liberty they learned that, and they learned it again tonight. So we need to put that in our game plan as well.”
The Eureka wrestlers outnumbered Del Norte 12-8. Neither team had a wrestler at either 113 pounds or 170, but the Loggers picked up forfeits at 101 pounds, 118, 123, and 127. Aliyah Rafalowski made her return to the lineup and picked up a win by forfeit in the 143 pound match. But Del Norte was still effectively trailing 24-6 before the dual even started. But on the mat the Loggers looked dominant as well.
“It is an uphill battle from the get go for us,” Schaad said. “I told the girls I wasn’t too worried about the score in the dual meet. How you wrestle your individual matches is what I am looking at. I definitely saw some things to work on, but it wasn’t more than one mistake here or there — putting our weight in the wrong place, putting our arm down, or rolling to our back... It is just little things. It is frustrating, but it is definitely going to be a nice learning experience. We will regroup tomorrow at practice and hopefully things go a little better for us on Saturday.”
Eureka’s Camille Sharer started off the night with a pin of Avery Wiley in the 108 pound match to jump ahead 12-0. After a few forfeits Emily Ricks of Del Norte lost by fall to Eureka’s Saran Grow in the 138 pound match.
Claire Taylor got off to a good start in her 137 pound match against Eureka’s Tareli Rendon but a small mistake resulted in another pin for the Loggers.
“Claire had an amazing shot today, she did a great job,” Schaad said. “But her arm was up and she got caught. That is part of wrestling — one mistake and you go down.”
Hailey Stover also made some nice moves for the Warriors in the 150 pound match, but Eureka’s Alicia Gentlemen caught Stover in a mistake and managed to take advantage with a pin.
“Stover had a beautiful head and arm hold and had her on her back, but her weight was high and she got rolled through,” Schaad said. “That is just part of it.”
After Ashley Turner (160) and Autumn Turner (189) both ended up losing by fall as well, the Loggers held a 60-6 advantage heading into the last match of the night.
Del Norte Danika Scott was able to end the dual on a high note for the Warriors as she made quick work of Eureka’s 225-pounder, Aaliyah Rogan, with a take down straight to Rogan’s back and a win by fall in 21 seconds.
“The highlight obviously was Danika — our heavyweight,” Schaad said. “She is coming along great. Every week she is learning new moves and she wrestled well.”
Although Scott wrapped up the night with a pin, it was a rough dual for Del Norte overall.
“We wrestled well on Saturday but today we came out flat footed, and I don’t know why. We will discuss that at practice and hopefully on Saturday we will come out strong again. Today was just a tough, tough day for our girls. Eureka is a tough team,” Schaad said. “I don’t know if maybe I hyped them up a little bit too much before hand and made them nervous — I very well could have done that. We made some changes at the last second with our lineup and that was a mental game that I didn’t mean to put on them, because in our meeting we had everything set up.”
Schaad said part of it may be that the whole dual meet experience is still fairly new to everyone on the team, and it is a different mental challenge for the wrestlers than the typical tournament format. While it is the first year ever for a Del Norte girls wrestling team, the Loggers have already had a girls program for several years.
The goal is for the Del Norte girls program to continue to expand, and eventually catch and pass Eureka as the top girls team in the Humboldt-Del Norte.
“They have had a team for a while, this isn’t their first go at it. They are starting off with 30 girls right off the bat, and our entire team (boys and girls) is 35,” Schaad said. “The game plan is to get more girls in next year, and just keep building from there. We are building from scratch right now, so my thing is that as long as these girls are having fun then I can get them back in here next year and we will definitely improve. Hopefully next year we can start bringing more girls in so we can expand the program. That is really what we need — more people — so that we can practice with each other.”
The Del Norte girls wrestling team will be back in action today, wrestling in the girls brackets at the Eureka Invitational.
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