By ERIC WITTMERSHAUS
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Looking back at the seasons put together by Healdsburg seniors Adam Hendrickson and Matthew Tsarnas, you’d have a hard time telling the two apart.
Hendrickson, wrestling most of the year at 145 pounds, took sixth at state, second at NCS and was undefeated in the Sonoma County League. He finished the season at 39-8, 19-1 in matches within the section. Tsarnas, wrestling at 160, took sixth at state, third at NCS and also was undefeated in the SCL. Wrestling in the same highly competitive tournaments as Hendrickson, he wound up 45-9 overall and 19-2 in the section.
Yet in racking up those two comparable bodies of work, Hendrickson and Tsarnas took different paths.
Hendrickson was the Greyhounds’ wunderkind, taking seventh at state as a sophomore and returning to medal twice more in his junior and senior years. He never lost a league match in four years and was an NCS champion his sophomore and junior years.
“He’s just one of those rare talents,” Healdsburg coach Scott Weidemier said of the three-time All-Empire Wrestler of the Year.
“He has all the tools to make a great wrestler. He’s a good natural athlete … He’s a student of the game, really thinks about what he’s doing. He has a kinesthetic awareness of his body, just those intangible things that you can’t teach somebody.”
Tsarnas, also a four-year wrestler, matured more slowly, improving steadily each year before coming into his own as a senior. As a junior, he finished second at NCS but went 3-2 and fell short of the medal round in his first trip to state.
Weidemier attributed much of Tsarnas’ success to the wrestler’s growing confidence.
“In the middle of his junior year, he started to win some big matches and started to grasp what we were telling him,” Weidemier said. “This year, his senior year, he really just felt like he belonged and wrestled with a whole different purpose than he ever had before. When he did that, he kind of separated himself from the rest of his field.”
The two wrestlers brought different personalities to their team. Weidemier described Hendrickson’s enthusiasm as infectious, improving everyone’s morale.
Hendrickson was enthusiastic about not just wrestling but “the cutting weight, the brutal practices, the miles running in the offseason — all those things that make it a job,” Weidemier said. “He was kind of special because his personality made (that enthusiasm) contagious throughout the team.”
Tsarnas, by contrast, is a man of few words. “When he was a freshman, or even into his sophomore year, there were times we thought he wouldn’t come back,” Weidemier said. “He was so quiet.”
In those early years Tsarnas “wrestled a lot to his personality.” Weidermier said. “He would wrestle so conservatively that he would lose matches to kids that he shouldn’t lose to just because he wouldn’t open up. As he started to get older and he matured, you could see his whole personality changeHe went to another level this year and kind of blossomed into the wrestler we knew he could be.”
Hendrickson, who’s been wrestling with Tsarnas since sixth grade, had a front-row seat to Tsarnas’ maturation.
“It was really cool being able to wrestle with him every day and watch him grow,” Hendrickson said. “He’s always been right there, and this year he really just made that jump to that elite levelin California.”
Both wrestlers got a lift from family members this season. Hendrickson’s dad, Jon, joined the Healdsburg coaching staff, bringing knowledge gained as a high school and collegiate wrestler. Tsarnas said he benefited from extra instruction from his older brother, Andrew.
Though Hendrickson and Tsarnas have been able to train with one another all through high school, bBoth said they are looking forward to wrestling and training with challenging practice partners on a daily basis at the collegiate levelcollege.
“I will have tough competition every weekend, everywhere we go, but (it will be good) just having someone that much tougher in the wrestling room every day,” Hendrickson said. “There’s always going to be someone there pushing you to the next level.” He said his goal in college is to “just get better every day.”
Tsarnas plans to attend Simpson University in Redding, which is starting a wrestling program next year. “The area is a lot like Healdsburg, so that made me feel at home,” Tsarnas said. “And it’s also cool to be the start of the program and start building a legacy."
2012 PRESS DEMOCRAT ALL-EMPIRE BOYS WRESTLING TEAM
Wrestlers of the year
Adam Hendrickson, Healdsburg, senior
Matthew Tsarnas, Healdsburg, senior
106 pounds: Perez Perez, Windsor, sophomore
113: Brian Guerrero, Rancho Cotate, sophomore
120: Logan Fore, Windsor, junior
126: Seth Trunick, Windsor, sophomore
132: Ward Beecher, Upper Lake, junior
138: Travis Coleman, Upper Lake, senior
145: Chris Moreno, Cardinal Newman, senior
152: Jack Fausone, Casa Grande, senior
152: Chris Berg, Ukiah, senior
160: Spencer Owen, Montgomery, senior
170: Anthony Navarro, Rancho Cotate, senior
182: Max Oswald, Ukiah, senior
182: Ricardo Sandoval, Healdsburg, senior
182: Taryn Christiansen, El Molino, junior
195: Tanner Berncich, Petaluma, senior
220: Dakota Albaum, Maria Carrillo, junior
285: Elijah Qualls, Casa Grande, junior
106: Jeff Ponce, Kelseyville, senior
113: Giordi Serafini, Sonoma Valley, junior
120: Vincent Luis, Rancho Cotate, senior
126: Kyle Doughty, Analy, senior
132: Brandon Painchaud, Lower Lake, senior
138: Fabian Vasquez, Maria Carrillo, senior
145: Robert Simondi, Upper Lake, senior
152: Bruce Tucker, Upper Lake, senior
160: Bradley Brackett, Upper Lake, senior
170: Marcos Anguiano, Healdsburg, senior
182: Tyler Carpenter, Cardinal Newman, senior
195: Max Manoukian, Healdsburg, senior
220: Joe Valdez, Upper Lake, junior
285: Quintton Bowlds, Willits, senior
106: Tony Lopez, Upper Lake, sophomore
113: Drew Esquivel, Healdsburg, junior
120: Evan Bluestone, Maria Carrillo, sophomore
126: Pat McCormick, Cardinal Newman, junior
132: Trevor Silva, Windsor, sophomore
138: Dominick Dingess, Lower Lake, sophomore
145: Cody Roe, Windsor, junior
152: Blake Borges, El Molino, senior
160: Alexander Lee, Windsor, senior
170: Thomas Bender, Willits, senior
182: Jacob Richards, Fort Bragg, junior
195: Brian Northen, Analy, senior
220: Aiden Lacy, Sonoma Valley, junior
285: Guiliano Cattaneo, Montgomery, senior
Coach of the Year
Scott Weidemier, Healdsburg