For the second year in a row, the Del Norte boys wrestling team has gone undefeated in Humboldt-Del Norte duals this season, wrapping up the regular season by going 3-0 in Arcata against the Tigers, Hoopa and St. Bernard’s.
“It was a good night for the boys,” said Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad. “They went out and wrestled pretty well. We were able to win all three dual meets, which gave us our second undefeated league dual championship. That is pretty exciting. Overall it was a fairly dominant night.”
The only contested dual of the night for the Warriors came against Arcata, but Del Norte was able to pile up the wins on its way to a 61-18 victory. Del Norte also beat St. Bernard’s 66-6, and Hoopa 78-0.
Del Norte ended up forfeiting the 113 pound weight class and Arcata didn’t have anyone to wrestle at 182 pounds or heavyweight. The Warriors picked up wins in 9 of the 11 matches wrestled against the Tigers.
Braydon Henderson got the dual started with a second-period pin of Arcata Tate Contreras in the 195 pound match and the Warriors never trailed against the Tigers.
Brandon Jones (220), Chaz Harrison (120), Sherrik Cron (138) and Wyatt Schneck (145) all their respective matches by fall in the first period.
Schaad said he was particularly pleased with Cron’s performance.
“Sherrick Cron was filling in for us at 138 and he got taken down early, but he was able to get a reversal and he put the kid on his back and pinned him,” Schaad said. “It was fun to watch Sherrik go out there and work through it.”
Skyler Moore and Henderson also both won by fall, both in the second period.
Schaad said Noah Ridgely nearly secured a pin in the third period of his 152 pound match, but ended up picking up a win by major decision instead.
“The most intense match of the night was at 160 pounds with Justice Spaulding (of Arcata) against Tanner Stancliff,” Schaad said. “Tanner was down by two with about 30 seconds left, but Tanner got the take down and actually got the turn to score five points in the last 30 seconds and win by three. That was a really good win for Tanner.”
In addition to picking up a forfeit, the Tigers also won with first-period pins in the 126 and 170 pound matches.
St. Bernard’s only brought one wrestler to Arcata, as the Warriors rolled to a 66-6 dual victory. Against the Crusaders, Del Norte’s Poy Aguilar lost by fall to Lucindo Gabel in the only match of the dual, but the Warriors picked up 12 wins by forfeit for an easy team victory.
Hoopa brought one male and one female wrestler, and elected to form a coed team to take on the Del Norte boys.
The Warriors decided to counter with a coed team of their own.
Del Norte sent Claire Taylor in for the 132 pound match and the Warriors picked up a pin in the first round against the girl from Hoopa.
Aguilar wrapped up the match with a first period pin in the heavyweight match.
“Overall it was a really good night of wrestling for the boys. It was never really close,” Schaad said. “We had the lead all night. It was nice to go down there on a Tuesday and get the win to cap off our second undefeated dual season in a row.”
While the Warriors have proved to be one of the top tournament teams in the Humboldt-Del Norte League over the past couple years, Del Norte seems to be particularly dominant in duals.
“Tournament teams are a little bit different from dual meet teams,” Schaad explained. “A good tournament team could have three or four really tough kids who all win the tournament and they are going to score a lot of points. In a dual meet every wrestler scores the same amount of points for a win. So three or four kids can get you 18 or 24 points, but if that is all you have you aren’t going to come out well in the dual meets.”
In order to be successful in duals, Schaad said a wrestling team needs to have depth, with strong wrestlers at every weight, to go along with a never say die
“For one thing you want to have a full lineup, you don’t want to have holes in your lineup. Sometimes, for whatever reason it is tough to get a 106 pounder or a heavyweight wrestler,” Schaad said. “Then you just have to be fairly tough from top to bottom. You have to be able to win and keep moving on, and it helps to have a team that doesn’t get on an emotional roller coaster. This year the boys have done a good job of not doing that, and I think it has transferred into out tournaments as well where we get knocked out of the championship round but we are able to bounce back and wrestle to third or fifth place —it is the same attitude.
“The group of kids that we have right now have been together for a couple years so they know each other, they support each other, and they know that even if they lose it isn’t the end of the world. They are able to shake it off and learn from their mistakes.”
Del Norte will have a shot at another league championship in a couple weeks when everyone gets together for the Humboldt-Del Norte Championships on Feb. 9 in Eureka to decide the HDN’s tournament champion.
But before that, Del Norte will kick off its postseason at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire Duals, which will be held in Eureka High School on Saturday with wrestling scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. It will be the Warriors only dual tournament of the season.
“It will be an exciting tournament, it always is. It will be nice having it in Eureka this year so we don’t have to travel as far,” Schaad said. “There will be some good competition — some of the top teams in the North Coast Section are going to be there and we will get to face them as an entire team. The last couple years Winsor has been the top dog and they have some really good wrestlers. We will possibly get to see their whole lineup and wrestle every single one of their kids. That gives us experience and shows us where we stack up against them, and what we need to improve upon.”
Schaad said Winsor and Ukiah will likely be the top two seeded squads once wrestling begins on Saturday.
“I think we will do alright down there. It just depends on how we come out and wrestle,” Schaad said. “Winsor and Ukiah are obviously going to be hard to beat, Fortuna will be there and we had a six-point dual meet against them, then there are a couple other teams that will be pretty tough this year.”
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