went a perfect three-for-three in duals on Tuesday night in Fortuna.
The Warrior boys blanked South Fork with an impressive 81-0 victory, and the Del Norte girls shut out Fortuna with a 42-0 dual victory. But the biggest dual of the night was between the Warrior and Husky boys squads. Del Norte fell behind in the first match and trailed by as many as 18 points midway through the dual, but the Warriors came storming back in the final seven matches of the night to pull out a 36-30 victory over Fortuna.
BOYS: Del Norte 36, Fortuna 30
Del Norte’s dual against Fortuna has been circled since the season began. In fact, both coaches agreed to move the date of the dual from earlier in the season so both teams could be ready and at full strength.
The Warriors and Huskies were the top two teams in the Humboldt-Del Norte League last season as Del Norte pulled out the HDN dual championship after an undefeated regular season in duals, including a narrow one-point win over Fortuna last year. Fortuna responded by winning the HDN Championships, securing the league championship as a team by just 3.5 points.
Both teams returned the bulk of their lineups from last season and have been heavy favorites in the league all season long.
When the teams finally met in Fortuna on Tuesday, the Warriors managed to pick up another narrow victory in a hard-fought dual against their main league rivals.
“It went pretty well. We got the win, but I don’t think that we wrestled very well,” Schaad said. “I don’t know if it was our first road trip as far as midweek duals on the road. We looked kind of flat and made it a lot closer at times than it needed to be, but we will just keep working. We definitely had some things go our way, but there were also some things we can improve upon.”
The dual started off at 160 pounds, giving two of Fortuna’s top wrestlers a chance to get the Huskies out to an early lead.
Joey Pontes, one of Fortuna’s returning HDN League champions, put the Huskies ahead 3-0 after pulling out a competitive 3-1 decision over Del Norte’s Justin Goudelock.
“The only takedown in the match was actually off of our shot,” Schaad said. “We wrestled pretty good in that match; we just didn’t get the win.”
Adam Medeiros then expanded Fortuna’s early advantage with a pin of Del Norte’s Kurtis Turner.
“Adam is a really good, solid wrestler,” Schaad said. “Curtis went out there and did his best, but Adam is a senior and one of the best kids in the section.”
Del Norte’s Jordan Woodley moved up a weight class to 184 pounds and got the Warriors on the scoreboard with a 5-2 win by decision over Jace Garcia of Fortuna.
“He was able to go up a weight class and still get the win, so that was nice for us,” Schaad said.
Braydon Henderson also moved up a weight class to take on Luke Del Monte in the 195 pound match in what turned out to be the closest match of the night. Henderson and Del Monte remained tied through regulation and the first two overtime periods before a technical violation by Del Monte in the third overtime gave Henderson a 4-3 decision, pulling the Warriors within 9-6 in the team score.
“He had a tough match, and he said he was feeling a little sick, but he was able to go the full distance,” Schaad said.
The Huskies were able to bounce back with three straight wins, however, to push their lead up to 18 points at the halfway point of the dual.
Fortuna’s Dell McKenzie picked up a late third-period pin of Del Norte’s Brandon Jones in the 220 pound match to start the run, and it continued with Shane Kirk picking up a close 13-11 win by decision for the Huskies over Poy Aguilar in the 285 pound match. Jones and Aguilar, both freshmen, were wrestling up a weight class from their usual position.
“Brandon ended up having a fantastic match against probably the best 220-pounder in the league. It was really close, just a couple points, but we got taken down late in the third and ended up getting turned and pinned,” Schaad said. “Poy got up by five right off the bat against a kid he was giving up 52 pounds against, according to the weigh-ins. He was winning for a good chunk of the match, but giving up that much size is not easy. He wrestled well though.”
Fortuna kept their momentum going with Logan Krause grabbing a first period pin of David Hall to push the Huskies’ advantage up to 24-6.
That is when the Warrior wrestlers started to take over.
Chaz Harrison got the Del Norte run started with a pin of Jesus Cruz to kick off five straight wins to put the Warriors in the lead for the first time all night.
“Chaz went out and wrestled pretty well and got a second round pin to make it 24-12 then they ended up forfeiting to Cruz at 120,” Schaad said. “They had a wrestler (at 120), but they didn’t put him in so that made it 24-18. Blake Allen (126 pounds) came up and had an OK match, picking up the win (an 8-1 decision) to make it 24-21. Then Skyler Moore (132) came out and wrestled a good match with a first round pin to give us out first lead of the night at 27-24.”
Wyatt Schneck completed the Warriors’ run with a pin of Fortuna’s Andrew Hansen, pushing the Del Norte lead up to nine points.
“They have wrestled tons of times, and they both are really top-notch wrestlers,” Schaad said of Schneck and Hansen. “Wyatt was winning the entire match though, and he ended up getting Hansen on his back and getting the fall early in the third period.”
Fortuna managed to stop its skid in the 145 pound match when Levi Nyberg pinned Del Norte’s Noah Ridgely midway through the third period. The win gave the Huskies a chance to win the match outright with a major decision or better, or force the dual to be decided by tiebreakers with a win by decision.
Del Norte’s Tanner Stancliff managed to slam the door on Fortuna, however, with a solid 10-6 win by decision over Fortuna’s Breck Bishop in the final match of the night.
“He went out and did his job,” Schaad said. “There was nothing fancy, nothing flashy, he just got the win. That took us from a three-point lead to the final six-point lead.”
With the win, Del Norte stays undefeated in duals for the season, and the win puts the Warriors in the driver’s seat for their second straight HDN dual championship. The Warriors will have a chance to officially secure the dual title when they head to Arcata next Wednesday.
“It is great. We are excited about it. We feel like we have a lot of momentum,” Schaad said. “Now we need to focus on our next dual meet which will be (next Tuesday) in Arcata.”
Del Norte 42, Fortuna 0
The Del Norte girls wrestling team overwhelmed Fortuna with superior numbers, but the Warriors also proved to have the superior wrestlers in Fortuna on Tuesday. Before the match even started Del Norte was assured of a dual victory, outnumbering the Huskies by five — seven wrestlers to two.
But the Del Norte girls refused to coast to an easy win, instead picking up a pair of pins in both of the matches wrestled to turn 30 points in forfeits into a 42-point victory.
Ashley Turner started things off for Del Norte with a pin in 1:53 over Fortuna’s Brooklyn Hurt in the first match of the dual.
After a forfeit by Fortuna in the 235 pound match Jenny Schaad took on Tristan Jones. Schaad, wrestling in her first match since an injury sidlined her for a couple weeks, jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first period before picking up a win by fall in the second period in 2:46.
“There weren’t very many girls from Fortuna. They only had two tonight, but we actually went out and pinned them,” Schaad said. “That was good for the ladies. Sometimes we don’t know what level of wrestling we are going to get. They were kind of down against Eureka last week, but they were back up at the North Coast Classic over the weekend, and they were up tonight. They are always exciting and fun to watch.”
Danika Scott (235), Emily Ricks (126), Claire Taylor (131), Hailey Stover (150) and Autumn Turner (160) each earned six points in the dual, winning their respective matches by forfeit.
Del Norte 81, South Fork 0
Although South Fork has the largest wrestling team of any of the Little 4 schools, Del Norte had little trouble against the Cubs en route to a lopsided victory.
“They had nine wrestlers going against us, but we ended up winning 81-0,” Schaad said. “Everybody wrestled well in that one.”
Schneck (138), Sherrik Cron (145), Seth Gorbet (152), Turner (160), Jones (195) and Davien Afdahl (285) each went out and scored a first period pin against their South Fork opponents.
The 182 pound match was the only one to go the full six minutes. Henderson pulled out an 8-4 decision over South Fork’s John Gamble in that match.
UP NEXT — The Del Norte wrestling program has just one night of duals remaining, scheduled for next Wednesday in Arcata. The Warriors are set to take on St. Bernard’s, Hoopa and host Arcata starting at 6:30 p.m.
Schaad said St. Bernard’s and Hoopa both have small boys squads, and the Warriors should have enough points off of forfeits to win before the matches even start. Del Norte will have to pick up some wins against Arcata in order to secure a league championship.
The Warrior girls will also wrap up their dual season in Arcata, though they will likely only face the Tigers on Wednesday.