Healdsburg shines in King of Mat tournament

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

WINDSOR — Four Sonoma County League wrestlers — three from Healdsburg and one representing the host Jaguars — came away with gold medals at Saturday’s King Of The Mat Tournament.

Windsor's Andres Torres defeats Ukiah's Tyler Shuss in the 115-pound class finals of the King of the Mat tournament at Windsor High. Photo by Crista Jeremaison / The Press Democrat

Healdsburg’s wins came in successive weight divisions with Adam Hendrickson (143) starting the streak. His victory was followed by Travis Arreguin (148) and Matt Tsarnas (155).

Windsor’s Andres Torres was the other winner from the SCL as he defeated Ukiah’s Tyler Shuss in the 115 class.

Antioch took the team title with 175 points. Healdsburg was the top finisher among Redwood Empire teams, taking fifth place with 139.5 points.

Other area squads making the top 10 in the 35-team tournament were: Ukiah (sixth), Windsor (seventh), Rancho Cotate (ninth) and Maria Carrillo (10th).
Torres was the most impressive SCL wrestler. The senior, who finished second in last year’s North Coast Section Tourney, won 19-8.

Torres took a 6-2 lead after one round and increased the margin to 11-2 after the second. It was his 15th straight win of the season.

“My goal is to win NCS and then do well at the state meet,” Torres said. “The De La Salle wrestler I lost to last year at NCS has graduated, so nothing stands in my way.

“Doing so well last year at NCS has given me confidence. I’m definitely a better wrestler this year. I’ve refined my technique and weight management and mentally I’m stronger.”

Hendrickson also did well last year at NCS, winning gold. In the King of the Mat, he scored a 6-3 decision over Antioch’s Joe Baynes. Even though his current record is 14-1, the junior says he’s not yet in shape.

“I played football and I’m still not fully transitioned,” he said. “My endurance isn’t where it needs to be. In football, you go hard for a few seconds and then wait for the next play. In wrestling, you go hard two minutes and then get a short rest between periods.”

Hendrickson was the No. 1 seed in his division and had to win four matches to pick up gold. He started his day by decisioning Kelseyville’s Reed Rasmussen, 10-5, and then pinned Maria Carrillo’s Sam Clarke. In the semifinals, he scored a major decision over Liberty’s Cody Krimm, 17-6.

Arreguin, like Hendrickson, joined the wrestling team after playing football (he was all-league at middle linebacker). To reach the finals Saturday, he defeated Cardinal Newman’s Sam Bernard and Carrillo’s Sam Tonascia on major decisions and then pinned Hoopa’s Louis Cosce.

His opponent in the finals, Justin Gildemeister of Sutter, was much more difficult to handle. Neither wrestler scored a point in the first period before Arreguin took a 4-0 in the second. The final score was 6-3.

“I still have a ways to go before I’m in wrestling shape,” Arreguin said. “I’m running three miles a day, in addition to practicing with the team. I still have to get back in the rhythm of constantly moving.”

Arreguin, who was fourth last year at NCS, has an 11-2 mark this year.

Tsarnas defeated Garkek Tauchen of Spanish Springs (Nev.), 8-2 in the finals. Unlike Henrickson and Arreguin, he didn’t play football. He attended the Robinson Intensity Camp in Ashland, Ore., for two weeks in the summer.

“We practiced four times a days,” he said. “I improved my set-up technique and learned how to build endurance.”

After winning at the SCL Tournament and finishing sixth at NCS, Tsarnas thinks his junior year will result in more gold medals.

“My goal this year is to finish off more opponents,” he said. “I know I’ve improved and can do it.” So far this year, his record is 15-2 with six pins.