Young Vikings still a force in NBL wrestling

After four straight North Bay League regular-season titles, Montgomery’s wrestling team was supposed to be in rebuilding mode this season.

Montgomery's Edgar Robles, top, pins Santa Rosa's Aidan Lynch in the 119-pound weight class during Wednesday night's match at Santa Rosa High. Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat

However, judging by the way they handled host Santa Rosa while winning 66-8 Wednesday night, the young Vikings just might make it five in a row.

“We’re inexperienced, but the ability is there,” coach Alex Duerr said. “This group has a lot of heart and determination. Right now, Ukiah and Rancho Cotate are the favorites to win league. If we improve with experience, who knows?”
On Wednesday, in the league opener for both teams, Montgomery won 12 of the 14 weight classes and veterans Edgar Robles and Garret Robinson both scored first-period pins.

In the 119-pound division, Robles took out Aidan Lynch in 1:04 while Robinson needed only 45 seconds to win the 152-pound match.
Robles, who made it to the second round in last year’s North Coast Section tournament, came out looking for an early pin.

“I was pretty confident,” he said. “I tried to take my man down quickly. I couldn’t do that, so we were grappling and scrambling for a few seconds and then I was able to get him off his feet.”
Once Robles got Lynch to the mat, he was able to keep his opponent’s shoulders on the mat for the necessary two seconds to get the victory.

“This year I’m not so nervous before matches,” Robles said. “Getting to the second day of NCS has given me a lot of confidence. Now, I go into matches knowing I’m good enough to win.
“My goal is to get back to NCS and this time finish in the top four, which means I’ll go to the state tournament.”

Robinson was disappointed his match didn’t last longer.
“I wanted a longer match to get me ready for a tournament this weekend in Redding,” the junior said. “The way it worked out, I was able to get my opponent down early and got the pin.”

Does Robinson believe Montgomery can make it five league titles in a row?
“I don’t know about that,” he said. “First, the younger guys need to get over their jitters. We’ll improve with experience. However, Ukiah is a veteran team and they’d rate the edge right now.”

Coach Duerr is dividing his team this weekend. The veterans are going to a two-day tourney at Anderson High in Redding while the new members of the team will compete in the Gold Rush at Piner.

Like Montgomery, Santa Rosa has a young team with only two seniors.
The seniors provided the victories on Wednesday. Ethan Rosselli took a 10-0 decision over Matt Carter in the 215 division while Charles Stornetta defeated Juan Cuevas, 17-7, at 187.

“Even though we only won two matches, I was pleased with the effort,” second-year coach Shawn Hermosillo said. “We have a lot of work to do and that’s to be expected with a young squad.
“We’re going to start a freestyle program in the summer and that will help us in the future. We had more kids come out for wrestling this year and the program is growing here.”