By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
HEALDSBURG — Aidan Lacy and Sam Denning registered impressive victories on Wednesday to lead Sonoma Valley High’s wrestlers past host Healdsburg and to the Sonoma County League dual meet championship.
The Dragons led the injury-riddled Greyhounds 37-30 with two matches remaining in the battle of SCL unbeatens. Lacy came out and manhandled his opponent Jesus Castro, winning by pin in just 3 seconds at 222 pounds, to clinch the match and the league for Sonoma Valley.
“I was just stronger than he was,” Lacy said. “I didn’t want it to drag out any longer than it had to.”
Denning, one of the veteran leaders with Lacy on a Sonoma Valley team that starts six first-year wrestlers, beat Joel Anguiano by major decision at 140, 11-2, as the Dragons won three of the first four matches. The victories built an early 28-6 margin that Healdsburg couldn’t overcome.
“Winning the league championship is really important to us,” Denning said. “I felt like we had a good chance to win league this year because we had some tough guys coming back and were filling all the spots with good guys. I felt confident going in against Healdsburg, but when I heard they had three starters injured, I felt even more confident that we’d win.”
Sonoma Valley coach Deets Winslow said his only regrets as his still inexperienced team won the SCL crown were the injuries that caused Healdsburg to forfeit in three weight divisions.
“It would’ve been nice if they’d been at full strength. We knew we had a chance to win the league this year and we knew that Healdsburg would be the team to beat,” Winslow said. “For us to win the league with six first-year wrestlers is a real accomplishment. The kids are learning quickly and the experienced guys are performing like we would expect them to.”
Lacy said the SCL championship means much to him, but he is most excited that it came with so many wrestling newcomers.
“I’m happiest for the younger guys on the team,” Lacy said. “It’ll build enthusiasm in the program and really build their confidence. We never stopped believing that we had a chance to win the league championship and we just kept getting stronger all season.”
Lacy, Denning and 134-pounder Giordi Serafini are doing more than winning matches for the Dragons. Veterans are largely responsible for the new wrestlers coming so far so fast.
“I’ve always made my experienced wrestlers teach the new kids every day,” Winslow said. “I’ve been doing that for 20 years and it always pays off. For the older kids to put in that effort is tough. This season is long and can really become a grind.”
Healdsburg’s Ethan Wiseman won by pin at 170 before teammate Matt Doran won by forfeit at 182. Healdsburg’s forfeit to Jonny Amandoli at 195 gave the Dragons a 37-30 edge entering Lacy’s match.
The Greyhounds roared back from an early deficit when Ian Black (152) and Dom Merlo (160) each pinned their opponents in the first round. Wiseman followed with his win to set up Sonoma Valley clinching the win with Lacy’s victory.
Healdsburg got off to a fast start when senior Nicholas Newman pinned Chris Lohnes at 106 in the evening’s first match.