SCL wrestling: Greyhounds take dual meet title

By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA — Healdsburg High won all six weight divisions from 145 to 197 pounds Wednesday to crush Casa Grande 49-21 and win the Sonoma County League dual meet wrestling title.

The Greyhounds will try to continue their SCL dominance when they seek the overall championship in a return visit here for the league meet on Feb. 18.

“We needed our lightweights and heavier weights to do really well, because they’ve just got a juggernaut in the middle weights,” said Casa Grande coach Jimmy Para, who assists head man Louis Chavez. “It didn’t work out for us. Healdsburg’s really tough.”
Casa Grande needed a win Wednesday to finish the season in a three-way tie for the dual-meet title with Healdsburg and Windsor. The Gauchos trailed just 28-21 after Michael Nelson pinned Jeff Grainger at 138 pounds.

That’s when the roof caved in on the home team.

Healdsburg’s Adam Hendrickson pinned Christopher Lowe with 38 seconds left in the first round. Lowe shot for Hendrickson’s legs, but the Greyhounds’ star simply overpowered him.

Dominic Merlo won by pin over Gaucho Sean O’Brien at 152. Merlo wrapped O’Brien up in a cradle with 1:37 left in the second round. That gave the Greyhounds an insurmountable 40-21 lead with just two matches remaining.

Matthew Tsarnas won the most competitive match of the night, beating Casa Grande’s 160-pounder Jack Fausone 2-0. Tsarnas started the third round in the down position and registered an escape with 1:07 left in regulation.

Ian Black gave the Greyhounds’ their fourth straight weight division victory with a pin of Elias Manesis in the first round at 170.
Marcus Anguiano started the evening winning by forfeit at 182 for Healdsburg. Ricardo Sandoval pinned Jacob Jefferies in the second round at 197.

“Our team just keeps working hard,” Sandoval said. “I thought I wrestled OK. I kept working, trying to work something. He (Jefferies) is a smart wrestler.”

Casa Grande’s Billy Marshall manhandled Ahmet Tolosa, pinning him in the first round, to give the Gauchos their only victory at a weight above 140 pounds.

“Things went relatively close to how we expected,” said Healdsburg head coach Scott Weidemier. “There were a couple of matches where things didn’t go like we planned. That match at 120 pounds, obviously, surprised us.”

Casa Grande’s Dylan Smith had dominated his opponent unlike any other wrestler through nearly three full rounds. He led Emmanuel Alcala, 10-0, as time ran out in the final round.
Smith had his legs locked around Alcala’s torso and gripped his own foot, pulling his opponent in toward his own chest.

“He was pulling his guy back, really working to get the pin,” Pera said. “But, we were screaming at him to watch out.”
Smith pulled Alcala on top of him, still in control, but allowed his own shoulders to touch the mat long enough to lose by defensive pin as time expired.

When the official called the pin, Smith and Casa Grande fans celebrated what they thought was a Gauchos’ pin.

“We knew what happened,” Pera said. “I haven’t seen a defensive pin in four, five years.”
Healdsburg’s veteran wrestlers dominated in the middle weights.

“Our experienced guys did what we expected,” Weidemier said. “We had some mistakes because we’ve still got a young team. We were in position to do things and inexperience took over a couple of times.”
He praised Dao Jones for winning easily at 137 and Merlo for his win.

“Dao looked good, all the experienced guys looked good,” the Healdsburg’s coach added. “Dominic had a nice win. Sean

O’Brien’s a tough kid for Casa Grande.”
Casa Grande heavyweight Elijah Qualls pulled off a stunning 10-5 victory over the top-ranked heavyweight in the North Coast Section. The fourth-rated Qualls beat Eric Wilson-Chavez, 10-5.

“That was a big win for Elijiah,” Pera said. “It’ll move him up in the section rankings and we’re expecting to get guys into the section meet and have them do really well.”