Boys wrestling: Windsor, Rancho Cotate take home gold

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SONOMA — After nearly 1,000 matches spread over two days, the 29th annual Valley of the Moon Classic ended Saturday night with three Rancho Cotate wrestlers and two from Windsor among those taking home gold medals.

It turned out to be a big day for the Jaguars as coach Rich Carnation also sent wrestlers to the San Ramon Invitational where Windsor captured the first-place team trophy.

Despite the two gold medals in Sonoma, Windsor wound up ninth among the 23 teams. Rancho finished second with 273 points, 15 behind winner Woodland.

“What a day for our program,” Carnation said. “The freshmen and sophomores are doing most of the winning because we’re not at full strength yet. Four of our top wrestlers played on the football team and they’re going to need time to get over some minor injuries and get in shape.”

Carnation said the team he sent here was basically the junior varsity squad. Sophomore Chava Carrillo, the 285-pound division winner, has competed in a varsity match but he’s in the minority.

In winning the blue ribbon, Carrillo got revenge against the wrestler that beat him in Friday’s opening round. Drake’s Dylan Sayge won the first meeting, 4-0.

The championship match was a different story. Carrillo had two takedowns in the second period while building a 6-2 lead and wound up prevailing, 9-2.

“Friday I was nervous,” Carrillo said. “I won my next four matches and that gave me confidence. I got a takedown early to get the lead and then just built on that. I’m very tired, but it’s a good tired.”

Austin Wilson was the other Windsor gold medal winner. Wrestling at 106 pounds, the freshman pinned Nevada Union’s Lachian Jones in 28 seconds.

Rancho Cotate, the reigning North Bay League champs, are the team to beat again in 2012.

The Cougars’ first place winners Saturday were Brian Guerrero, Vince Luis and Anthony Navarro.

Guerrero decisioned Novato’s Paul Nguyen, 12-2, in the 113-pound title match. Luis outpointed Woodland’s Dom Caibro, 8-2, in the 120 division and Anthony Navarro took the 170 class with a 13-5 decision over Novato’s Nick Destein.

Navarro, who played fullback and linebacker on the Rancho football team, is glad to be back on the mat.

“Wrestling is my favorite sport,” he said. “It takes a while to get wrestling fit after football.In wrestling, you go all-out for six straight minutes. In football, a play lasts less than 30 seconds and then you get a chance to rest before the next play.

“Also, in wrestling you use every muscle in your body, so you have to be fit to be successful.”

The senior got a lot of conditioning in this tournament as he wrestled eight times. He made it to the state meet last year.

Luis was the most animated Rancho winner.

“This is the first tournament I’ve won,” the senior said. “I won my division in NBL, but this is the first open meet I’ve won.”

Luis was one of five Cougars to attend a wrestling camp last July in Squaw Valley.

“I learned a lot,” he said. “The instructors were college coaches and what really helped was changing my stance. That’s made me a lot more effective.”

Luis is 8-0 this year and looks like a state meet wrestler. He just missed getting a medal at NCS in 2011.

Coach Ryan Lunsford believes six of his wrestlers have a shot of making it to state.

“I’m very fortunate,” he said. “I’m loaded this season. Last year, we were unbeaten in NBL and we only lost three wrestlers to graduation. The returning guys have all improved. We just have to stay healthy and motivated and at this point, we’re still improving.”