The Del Norte boys wrestling team was far from full strength in Eureka on Saturday at the North Coast Classic. In addition to the usual bumps and bruises that kept wrestlers out of the tournament, the Warriors had a handful of wrestlers who are already pushing the regular season limit of 40 matches, so coaches elected to have them take the weekend off.
“We took down a modified squad based on match count, resting some of the kids who have been beat up, and some of the kids were both,” Schaad said.
The Warriors still managed to get three wrestlers up onto the podium by the end of the day on Saturday, however. As a team Del Norte came in 12th overall out of 20 teams.
“In the team scores we didn’t do the best, but this weekend was more about individual wrestlers and individual matches rather than overall team score. With not putting a full lineup in we just kind of put that to the side.”
Cruz Cerros wrestled his way to the highest place of the day for the Warriors, finishing in fourth in the 120 pound bracket.
“He actually started the day against the kid from Eureka (Jeremiah Martin) who he beat in the dual but had never beaten before that, and he beat him again,” Schaad said. “That is two in a row now, so we are really happy for Cruz. He has kind of solidified where he is at in the league.
“His confidence is up — confidence in his abilities. Going down to 120 helps him too, because he is faster and quicker there. He has also been working really hard all year. He is a third year wrestler and he is really starting to turn that corner.”
Jordan Woodley also had a strong performance in Eureka, finishing 2-2 overall to finish in fifth place in the 170 pound bracket.
“He actually split his eye open and had to get stitches, so we put a big mask on him — which can be very cumbersome to wrestle in,” Schaad said. “In his first match it was really bothering him.”
Woodley ended up losing in that first match of the day by a 4-3 decision. After spliting his next two matches, Woodley found himself in the match for fifth place against the same wrestler (Aaron Colvig) who had beaten him at the beginning of the day.
In the second meeting Woodley pulled out a convincing 6-1 win by decision.
“It is nice to have those redemption matches and get the win,” Schaad said.
The Warriors’ third medalist of the night was Blake Allen. Allen ended up getting knocked out of the championship bracket in the second round, but bounced back to win his next two. After starting the day 3-2, however, Allen was forced to forfeit the fifth-place match due to reaching the limit of matches for a day.
“Blake had a pretty good day. He bounced back from a loss in the second round and looked really good,” Schaad said. “He ended up going against a really tough wrestler out of Anderson in the consolation semifinals and lost that match; then because he already had five matches he had to forfeit the fifth place match.”
Nolan Ridgely also had a strong performance in Eureka. Wrestling in the 145 weight class Ridgely started the day off against a familiar opponent in Hoopa’s Infallible Ansenbauer.
“Nolan has been wrestling for us for three years, and he has never won that match,” Schaad said. “He has lost to that kid every single time, but he wrestled really well and beat him this time. We are kind of at that point where we are turning the corner and beating people we have never beaten before.”
Ridgely ended up going 2-2 overall at the tournament.
The Warriors also put three wrestlers into the junior varsity bracket and came away with a pair of first place finishes.
Senior Sherrik Cron won all three of his matches in the 140 weightclass, while junior Michael Wieland also went unbeaten wrestling at 152 pounds. Both wrestlers ended up taking first place.
“That is really good for them,” Schaad said. “It was exciting.”
The Warriors have a quick turnaround now, as they will be back in action wrestling for a Humboldt-Del Norte League dual championship in Fortuna as the top two teams in the league face off at 6:30 p.m.
“That is going to be a really tough dual. They looked really good on Saturday and they had their full lineup. We are working on getting our lineup set, and we will see what happens. I think if we wrestle well it will go our way. If we don’t wrestle well it will be tough. We are ready for it though.”