By HOWARD SENZELL
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
WINDSOR — For the second time in its 14-year history, the King Of The Mat Tournament was won by Windsor High, and by the time the final match ended Saturday evening, there was no questioning the Jaguars’ dominance.
The hosts picked up gold medals in six of the 14 classes and didn’t lose a final match. The Jaguars amassed 260 points while runner-up and defending champ Spanish Springs of Nevada wound up with 190.5. Thirty-nine schools competed in the two-day tournament.
“Needless to say, I’m extremely happy,” Windsor coach Rich Carnation said. “The fellows on our staff had the kids well-prepared for the competition they faced. Everyone on the team wrestled well.”
The Windsor first-place winners were: Perez Perez (106 pounds), Noah Au-Yeung (120), Logan Fore (126), Seth Trunick (132), Trevor Silva (138) and Oscar Rios (195).
Three other Redwood Empire wrestlers also went home with blue ribbons: Upper Lake’s Tony Lopez (113) and Travis Coleman (152) and Healdsburg’s Dominic Merlo (160).
Upper Lake, a school with only 338 students, made a remarkable showing by finishing third. Other Empire schools in the top 10 were: Ukiah (fifth), Healdsburg (seventh) and Lower Lake (ninth).
The most surprising win in the finals was turned in by Au-Yeung. He defeated Healdsburg’s Drew Esquivel. Last year in the championship match of the Sonoma County League Tournament, Au-Yeung lost to Esquivel on points, 16-1.
This time, Au-Yeung prevailed, 3-2. He earned two points on escapes and was awarded one when Esquivel was penalized for a technical violation.
Au-Yeung said being able to practice against accomplished wrestlers like Fore, Trunick and Silva is the biggest reason for his improvement.
“Our practice room is always very intense,” the sophomore said. “I’ve learned a lot from those guys and have been able to use it in matches.”
Au-Yeung won four matches on his way to the championship and has a 17-4 record this season.
Fore, who was named lightweight wrestler of the tournament, won his medal by pinning Dixon’s Devan Turner with 24 seconds left in the second round. The senior was ahead 4-0 on points when the match was stopped.
The reigning SCL champion finished sixth at North Coast Section last year. He started wrestling when he was 4 and has been dedicated to the sport for 13 years.
Upper Lake’s Coleman was named the tournament’s outstanding middleweight while Nate Keeve of Terra Linda was voted upperweight honors.
Coleman’s victory was a surprise. He defeated Rancho Cotate’s Joey Clay, 21-15. Clay is the North Coast Section’s top-rated wrestler in his class.
Coleman led by one point with a minute to go and in the waning seconds was able to get Clay in a quarter-Nelson and then on his back.
“Before the match, no one told me that Clay was No.1 in NCS,” Coleman said. “I’m glad I didn’t know because I probably would’ve gotten nervous.”
Coleman, who didn’t place at NCS in 2012, has improved in his senior season and now sports a 22-1 record.