Wrestling: Greyhounds take down Lions

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

FORESTVILLE — Healdsburg’s wrestling team took a giant step toward defending its Sonoma County League crown Wednesday night with a 39-24 victory over host El Molino.

Healdsburg's Nick Newman beat El Molino's Lacey Muckle during the match held at El Molino High School, Jan. 19, 2011. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / PD)

And, if the Greyhounds go on and win their fourth title in six years, it’s likely that 4-foot-4 Nick Newman will be honored as the team’s “most inspirational wrestler.”

Newman, an achondroplasia dwarf in his second year of wrestling, has been the heart of Healdsburg’s team on and off the mat.

Newman continued his amazing season in the 103-pound division by pinning El Molino’s Lacey Muckle in 1:29.

The victory upped the sophomore’s record to 13-5. Last year, at the junior varsity level, he didn’t win a match.

Newman’s work isn’t done after wrestling. He moves non-stop from one end of the mat to the other, cheering on his teammates and is always first in line to congratulate them, win or lose.

“Nick truly inspires us all,” coach Scott Weidemier said. “To accomplish what he has with a physical disadvantage picks up everyone around him.”

Newman, who also plays baseball for Healdsburg, was unable to take up wrestling until two years ago.

“My legs were bowed out and I needed to get that taken care of or I would’ve started wrestling sooner,” he said. “I had to wear rainbow braces for five months, but it was worth it because now my legs are straighter and it’s enabled me to do a lot of things I couldn’t do before.”

Weidemier wishes all the athletes he’s coached in nearly 30 years had the heart and desire that Newman possesses.

“I’ve never heard Nick complain or say he can’t do something and that includes our running drills,” the coach said. “I’ve never coached someone as intense as he is.”

Muckle was the fourth girl Newman has wrestled this season. He’s beaten all four.

“I put it out of my head that my opponent is a girl,” he said. “I go into the match with the mindset that my opponent is a guy. If I take it easy, I’d get beat. Once the match starts, we’re just two wrestlers going at it.”

Weidemier said hard work and becoming a student of wrestling are the reasons for Newman’s turnaround.

“Every day over the summer he was in the weight room building muscle,” the coach said. “Then he watched the good wrestlers and talked with the coaches about the technique. He never quits working to improve.”

Healdsburg was supposed to be vulnerable this year after the majority of last year’s championship team graduated. However, underclassmen such as Newman, Trey Saulter (130 pounds) and Dominic Merlo (152) have matured quickly.

Healdsburg's Matt Tsarnas beat Taryn Christianson in the 173 weight class during the match held at El Molino High School, Jan. 19, 2011. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / PD)

Add to that the seasoned veterans Adam Hendrickson (140), Travis Arreguin (160) and Matt Tsarnas (171) and it’s become a championship-caliber team.

Those six, plus Ricardo Sandoval (189) and Eric Chavez (heavyweight) all won Wednesday.

Like Healdsburg, El Molino came into the match with a 2-0 league record.

Health-wise, the Lions weren’t at full strength. Seven wrestlers, including Blake Borges, were suffering from sinus infections.

Borges still won a 13-0 decision over Ian Black at 135, but had to back off several times because of heavy coughing.

The junior, ranked No. 23 in Northern California in his weight class, led 5-0 after one period and then had to coast.

“I didn’t wrestle to full capabilities and just tried to survive after getting the lead,” he said. “I’ve had this sinus infection for a week and I don’t know when I’m going to feel better.”

Borges was one of six El Molino wrestlers to win. The others were: Logan Fore (112), Brandon Rodenberger (119), Johnny Lopez (125), Johnny Fuentes (145) and Jerad Garner (215).

RESULTS

SCL

AT EL MOLINO

Healdsburg 39, El Molino 24

103-Nick Newman (H) pin Lacey Muckle, 1:29
112-Logan Fore (EM) dec. Drew Esquivel, 8-0
119-Brandon Rodenberger (EM) dec. Christian Flores, 13-0
125-Johnny Lopez (EM) dec. Dao Jones, 4-2
130-Trey Saulter (H) pin Vincent Fuenz, 5:32
135-Blake Borges (EM) dec. Ian Black, 13-0
140-Adam Hendrickson (H) tech. fall Jacob Mason, 16-0
145-Johnny Fuentes (EM) dec. Robert Ramirez, 7-4
152-Dominic Merlo (H) dec. Jeff Norton, 2-0
160-Travis Arreguin (H) dec. Robert Coxon, 17-3
171-Matt Tsarnds (H) dec. Taryn Christiansen, 3-0
189-Ricardo Sandoval (H) pin Josh Gonzaez, 1:50
215: Jerad Garner (EM) pin Max Manoukian 1:00
Hwy-Eric Chavez (H) pin Kameron Mancini, 1:55

Records: H 3-0 EM 2-1