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Wrestling: Windsor dominates NBL championships

By PHIL BARBER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Some of the Windsor High wrestlers might be nervous or sore heading into next weekend’s North Coast Section boys wrestling championships. One thing is certain, though. They won’t be lonely.

The Jaguars punctuated a dominant season Saturday by qualifying wrestlers in all 14 weight classes in the North Bay League championships at Ukiah.

The top three finishers at each weight punched their tickets to wrestle against the section’s best at Newark High. Among the 14 classes, Windsor kids won eight times, placed second four times and finished third two times.

It was a first for Jaguars coach Rich Carnation, who has never qualified his entire slate for the NCS championships.

“It was Christmas in Ukiah,” the overjoyed Carnation said. “Everything went wonderfully. Every matchup was incredibly competitive, and our kids wrestled to the best of their abilities.”

Windsor’s winners included Perez Perez and 106 pounds, Logan Fore at 126, Seth Trunick at 132, Trevor Silva at 138, Isai Guzman at 170, Oscar Rios at 195, Christian Delagnes at 220 and Salvador Carrillo in the heavyweight division.

Noah Au-Yeung (113 pounds), Aaron Hermosillo (120), Chad Gradek (145) and Jose Chavez (160) finished second for the Jaguars, while Cody Roe (152) and Paris Henry (182) took third.

Windsor’s clean sweep was more than symbolic. One of the Jaguars’ goals has been a top-three team finish at the section championships, and having 14 wrestlers on the mat makes it possible.

“The teams that we expect to be competing against — Liberty, James Logan and De La Salle — I think they all have 14 coming,” Carnation said. “So those extra guys, not every one will place for us, but if they can win two, three, four matches, it will help us reach our goal.”

Windsor easily claimed the NBL team title with 275½ points Saturday, followed by Ukiah at 174, Maria Carrillo at 125 and Rancho Cotate at 118½.

Crowned as NBL individual champions were Rancho Cotate’s Brian Guerrero (113 pounds), Joey Clay (152) and Ty Brantley (160), Cardinal Newman’s Michael Klee (120), Ukiah’s Drayton Payne (145) and Casa Grande’s Sean O’Brien (182).

It was a bittersweet day for the host Wildcats. They qualified eight wrestlers for NCS, but five of them lost in the final round to Windsor boys. That summarizes the 2012-13 season for Ukiah, a very good team that hasn’t quite escaped Windsor’s shadow.

One of the best of those finals was the highly anticipated heayweight confrontation between Salvador “Chava” Carrillo and Ukiah’s Pablo Gonzalez, a match that went back and forth into the late stages.

“Chava has a bad shoulder, and he jammed it again in the third round,” Carnation said. “We took injury time, and in a normal match, I probably would have pulled him out. But he wanted to keep going. He was super tough, showed incredible internal fortitude and kept wrestling.”

Carrillo took down Gonzalez a couple more times and won 7-3.

Casa’s O’Brien showed some fortitude of his own. Injured last week, he was unable to make weight at his normal 170 pounds. So he wrestled up at 182 and wound up pinning Maria Carrillo’s Jacob Groesbeck at the 4:48 mark in the final.

Maria Carrillo and Cardinal Newman each qualified five wrestlers for NCS, Rancho Cotate and Casa Grande qualified four each, and Montgomery and Santa Rosa qualified one each. Other NBL wrestlers could be selected as at-large entries.

The double-elimination tournament begins Friday at 9 a.m., with championship matches expected to start around 6 p.m. on Saturday.