Holiday work pays dividends for SCL wrestling

Sonoma Valley wrestlers get ready for another season. (CRISTA JEREMIASON/ PD).

ByMICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Training and tournaments over the winter holiday break pay dividends in spring finals for wrestlers who work hardest.

And in the Sonoma County League, Healdsburg and El Molino are pushing to get more athletes to the California state tournament than a year ago when they finished first and second in the league. While the Greyhounds again are the favorites, the Lions continue to improve.

“It would be nice to repeat that or go one higher. We have to get past Healdsburg,” said El Molino coach Bill Borges. “They’re coming to our house this year so maybe that will be that little edge we need. It’s going to be a tight one.”

Healdsburg coach Scott Weidemier said both teams are deep and experienced.

“We’re probably on paper a little bit deeper, and a little more well-rounded than we were last year,” he said. “I think Windsor’s going to have something to say about it. But it (SCL) should come down to us and El Molino, assuming everyone stays healthy. It should be a battle.”

Both Petaluma and Casa Grande are looking for big years from a crop of less experienced wrestlers. Sonoma Valley is young. Analy continues to develop its program.

With two returning state qualifiers and another pair poised to make it, Healdsburg is as formidable as ever.

Adam Hendrickson – 140 pounds – and Travis Arreguin – 145 pounds – could be the best in their classes in the North Coast Section. Both reached the state tournament last season.

Just missing state was Matt Tsarnas – 152 pounds – and again ranked among the section’s best. Eric Chavez – 285 pounds — also aims to do well at sectionals and go against California’s best prep wrestlers.

Of those top four, only Arreguin is a senior. Another top senior is Trey Saulter – 135 pounds.

Much of the Healdsburg team is younger.

“Some of our younger guys are pretty good,” Weidemier said. “It’s fun to watch them go at it in practice. Nobody wants to give up a point.”

While Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley and Petaluma have traded the SCL title in recent years, El Molino is more than an upstart this season.

State qualifier Blake Borges – 135 pounds – leads the Lions. Both Logan Fore – 112 pounds – and Jared Garner – 215 pounds – want to join him this year. Taryn Christensen – 152 pounds – is another standout.

Wrestlers making the greatest gains for El Molino early in the season include Jonathan Fuentes – 140 pounds – and Vincent Fuesz – 130 pounds.

“They’re looking really good,” Borges said. “We gained some experience from the younger kids wrestling last year. We’re going to be just fine.”

Windsor has a pair of top wrestlers in Andres Torres – 119 pounds – who could bring home a state medal, and Oscar Rios – 215 pounds.

The 215-pound class is among the region’s most competitive. Omar Paz, from Sonoma Valley, also is ranked among the best in the NCS.

Four SCL wrestlers are ranked among the best in California for their weight classes.
Hendrickson, Healdsburg, 4th in 140, and Torres, Windsor, 14th in 119, lead the group. Borges, El Molino, 135, and Tsarnas, Healdsburg, 152, are also listed among the state’s top prep wrestlers.

“Our leagues in the North Bay have really improved and the athletes we’ve qualified to the state has grown and grown,” Weidemier said. “There’s some talent up here.”

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.