By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Windsor High’s Perez Perez leads a group of five Empire stars ranked among the top 20 in California in their weight divisions as the 2012-2013 season swings into full gear.
Perez is ninth in the California Interscholastic Federation ratings at 106 pounds and ranks No. 1 in the North Coast Section.
“He finished fifth in the nation at a Greco-Roman tournament over the summer,” said Windsor coach Rich Carnation. “He’s ready for a big season.”
Perez is joined in the CIF top 25 by teammate Logan Fore (126) who is 22nd. El Molino’s Taryn Christiansen is rated 12th in the state at 182 pounds.
The Empire’s 220-pound competition features two standouts. Upper Lake’s Joe Valdez is No. 20 in the state in that division, while Sonoma Valley’s Aidan Lacy is rated 23rd.
“It’s a little hard to tell who exactly the top guys in each division will be,” Carnation said. “There are still coaches deciding which guys might move up in weight and which won’t.”
Windsor’s Fore is fourth in the NorthCoast Section preseason rankings. Christiansen is tops in the NCSat 182.
Upper Lake’s Valdez is No. 1 in the NCS at 220, just ahead of second-rated Lacy.
The five stars have started their seasons with the big individual Empire tournaments set for January. The Valley of the Moon Tournament at Sonoma Valley is set for Jan. 4-5. Windsor’s King of the Mat is set Jan. 12. The annual Maria Carrillo Tournament follows.
“Last year Vacaville was at Maria Carrillo and just rolled through teams,” Carnation said of the Sac-Joaquin Section powerhouse that is ranked second in the state.
Eight other Empire wrestlers join the aforementioned five in the state rankings compiled by The California Wrestler (www.thecaliforniawrestler.com).
Rancho Cotate’s Brian Guerrero is 28th in the state and seventh in the NCS at 113 pounds.
“Brian could go up to a higher weight division,” Carnation said. “He’s a really, really tough kid. He’ll probably wind up wrestling at 120.”
At 120 pounds, Guerrero would run into Sonoma Valley’s Giordi Serafini. Serafini is 39th among the 40 state-ranked competitors. He’s rated eighth in the NCS.
Upper Lake’s Ward Beecher (138) is 31st in the state. Lower Lake’s Dominic Dingess rated No. 34 at 145 pounds.
Healdsburg’s Dominic Merlo and Rancho Cotate’s Joey Clay are 37th and 38th respectively in the state ratings at 152.
Isia Guzman, of Windsor, is 35th in the CIF at 170, fourth in the NCS.
Fort Bragg’s Jacob Richards-Clarke rounds out state-ranked wrestlers. He is 31st at 195 pounds.
While the state-ranked wrestlers have impressive varsity careers, there are newcomers to the Empire scene with bright futures.
“Every coach thinks he has a stud freshman,” Carnation joked. “But, there are some who will definitely be outstanding.”
Ukiah’s Beau Colombini is expected to star in his first high school season at either 138 or 145 pounds.
Windsor’s Dominic Ducharme is expected to build on strong national showings as a freshman this season at 113 pounds.
WRESTLERS TO WATCH
106 pounds — Perez Perez, Windsor; Eric Arango, Rancho Cotate; Nick Newman, Healdsburg; Denny Layton, Montgomery.
113 — Brian Guerrero, Rancho Cotate; Zach Ruybal, Cardinal Newman; Tony Lopez, Upper Lake; Noah Ay’eung, Windsor; Dominic Ducharme, Windsor; Ian Bailey, Casa Grande.
120 — Giordi Serafini, Sonoma Valley; Brian Castaneda, Elsie Allen.
126 — Blake Hartleib, Petaluma; Logan Fore, Windsor; San Denning, Sonoma Valley.
132 — Seth Trunick, Windsor; Pat McCormick, Cardinal Newman; Brandon Rodenberger, El Molino.
138 — Ward Beecher, Upper Lake; Trevor Silva, Windsor; Beau Colombini, Ukiah; Cole Pruitt, Petaluma.
145 — Max Shinn, Sonoma Valley; Cody Roe, Windsor; Anthony Spallino, Windsor.
152 — Joey Clay, Rancho Cotate; Dray Payne, Ukiah.
160 — Dominic Merlo, Healdsburg; Ian Black, Windsor.
170 — Isia Guzman, Windsor; Thomas Cross, Lower Lake; Ramon Contreras, Maria Carrillo.
182 — Taryn Christiansen, El Molino; Nick Pruitt, Petaluma; Sean O’Brien, Casa Grande.
195 — Jacob Clarke-Richards, Fort Bragg; Neil Don Danville, Fort Bragg; Oscar Rios, Windsor.
220 — Joe Valdez, Upper Lake; Aiden Lacy, Sonoma Valley; Christian Delagnes, Windsor; Mike Warren, Lower Lake.
Heavyweight — Pablo Gonzalez, Ukiah.