By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
HEALDSBURG — Bryant Herrguth and Jeff Grainger claimed victories in the final two matches of the night Wednesday to lift unbeaten Healdsburg to a 44-36 Sonoma County League wrestling win over visiting Analy.
Healdsburg will wrestle Sonoma Valley for the SCL dual meet title next week.
“We needed to win this one,” said Greyhounds head coach Scott Weidemier. “Now it comes down to next week. We’re undefeated. Sonoma’s undefeated. It should be a good match.”
Analy’s Colby Bagan pinned his opponent with just over one minute left in the first round at 126 pounds to give the Tigers a 36-34 lead with just two contests remaining.
“There were no real surprises,” Weidemier said. “We’ve just got a really young team. We have four or five kids we can rely on and after that inexperience shows.”
The freshman Herrguth was deadlocked 2-2 with Analy’s Alex Ciddio at 132 with time running out. Herrguth suddenly found himself being rolled into a predicament.
“That’s the inexperience,” Weidemier said. “Bryant wrestled a good match, but the freshman in him showed. All of a sudden he just slipped and fell on his back. He did a great job to come back from that really late in the match.”
Herrguth not only avoided disaster in the final minute, but he pinned Ciddio with just 10 seconds remaining in the final round to give Healdsburg a 40-36 lead.
The four-point margin meant that Analy’s Anthony Dunn could’ve pulled out a team win for the Tigers with a convincing victory over Grainger in the finale at 138.
“I just tried to toughen up with the team score that close,” Grainger said. “I wrestled hard. Our home crowd is really loud and that helped me.”
Grainger wound up winning by an 11-2 score that doesn’t indicate how competitive the match actually was.
Dunn was frantically trying to turn control of his Healdsburg foe into a pin for most of the final 90 seconds of the third round.
“We expected the match to wind up 42-42,” said Analy head coach Ryan Stevens. “The only match that I didn’t call correctly was that last match. It didn’t go like I expected, but that happens.”
Analy was wrestling without injured Tyler Hagle who has been a varsity starter at 113.
“We had to send a junior varsity guy out to replace him,” Stevens said. “That hurt us a little tonight.”
Ian Black (152) and Dominic Merlo (160) helped Healdsburg get off to a fast start with consecutive victories early.
Black won by pin and Merlo by technical fall with a 17-1 points lead.
“Those two have been wrestling better than anyone else for us,” Weidemier said. “We expect them both do well in the North Coast Section meet. We want to qualify those four or five guys with experience for the state meet, but Ian and Dominic have the best chance.”
Merlo has had a sterling career as part of Healdsburg’s wrestling powerhouse, but fate has kept him from reaching the section tournament.
“Those four or five guys all have NCS experience, except for Dominic,” Weidemier said. “He’s wrestled behind some star wrestlers while he’s been here. Last year, he led our team in victories all season … then lost a challenge match and didn’t make it to the (postseason). He’s a tough kid and he’s ready this year.”
Analy’s Clayton Ferris got the Tigers rolling with a pin just 90 seconds into his match at 170 pounds.
“Our goal is to get 10 guys to the section meet,” Stevens said. “It’s been a good year and we expect more good things. Our program is growing.”