By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
WINDSOR — Windsor High won seven consecutive matches, five by pin, Wednesday to beat Ukiah and claim sole possession of first place in the North Bay League standings.
Ukiah’s Marcus Scott won a thriller over Paris Henry, 1-0, to start things at 182 pounds. Scott’s teammate Pablo Gonzales won by pin at heavyweight as the teams split the first four matches. From there, the Jaguars’ juggernaut began to roll and didn’t stop until Wildcats star Dray Payne defeated Windsor’s Cody Roe, 13-9, after the seven straight Windsor wins.
Windsor moved into the league lead after the 58-13 victory that left the Jaguars excited about what has been a dominant campaign.
“This is like our league championship match,” said Oscar Rios, who won by pin in the first round at 195 pounds to start the Windsor win streak after Scott’s opening triumph for Ukiah. “This was really important for our team because both teams were unbeaten.”
Teams still remaining on Windsor’s NBL schedule shouldn’t expect the Jaguars to let up now.
“Every time we go out there we want to wrestle tough and do our best,” Rios said. “We don’t take anybody lightly. The win tonight was a big deal.”
Windsor’s Trevor Silva, who has three league titles in three years, pinned his opponent in the second round at 138 pounds. He held a 5-0 lead when he locked up Chase Lynch with 1 minute, 2 seconds left in the period.
“League really matters to me,” Silva said. “I want to be a four-time league champion. And league matters to our whole team. Wrestling in weekend tournaments against teams from other areas is an entirely different thing.”
Austin Wilson (106) won by pin in the first round. Windsor’s standout at 113, Perez Perez, pinned his foe late in the second round. Noah Au-Yeung (126) also won by pin in the seven-victory streak. Logan Fore was taken to the third round by Bernard Avalos before earning a pin.
Seth Trunick (132) and Chad Gradek (145) claimed decisions as Windsor extended its lead to 49-9, after leading just 12-9 following the Gonzales win at heavyweight.
Silva is one of the Windsor wrestlers still working to improve, even as the Jaguars are dominating all comers.
“I’m a defensive wrestler and it’s hurt me in matches,” Silva said after using an arm bar to get an acrobatic pin. “I want to get away from that and be more aggressive. The match tonight went like I expected. I’ve wrestled the guy before. I just want to keep improving in every match.”
Ukiah’s Payne is a challenger for postseason honors, but knows he’s part of a program still going through growing pains.
“We’re improving,” he said. “We did well against Rancho Cotate this year and they beat us pretty good last year. It just takes time to develop a program. You need wrestlers to start when they’re kids and keep wrestling. Windsor’s got Perez Perez and he started wrestling when he was like three years old. You need that kind of guy. It just takes time.”
Ukiah’s Joey Gradek is one Wildcats standout who shined, even in defeat. He lost to Trunick 3-1 in one of the most competitive matches of the night. The match was tight, with Trunick holding a 2-1 edge from early in the second period. Gradek let Trunick escape, growing the lead to 3-1, to get both wrestlers to their feet and set the Ukiah star up to shoot for a pin in the final 37 seconds.