Wrestling preview: Windsor expected to dominate again

Perez Perez, top, wrestles with teammate Noah Au-Yeung during practice on Feb. 13 at Windsor. (Christopher Chung /  The Press Democrat)

Perez Perez, top, wrestles with teammate Noah Au-Yeung during practice on Feb. 13 at Windsor. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Good news and bad news for fans of Empire boys wrestling entering the new season.

The good news is that Windsor High’s mat juggernaut will continue rolling with some familiar names and newcomers dominating the North Bay League and, likely, anywhere else the Jaguars compete.

The bad news? Lots of Empire wrestling fans will be rooting for athletes who will be trying to take down the Jaguars.

“Our workout routine is totally different this year than it was last year,” said Rich Carnation, head coach of the two-time defending North Coast Section Redwood Empire Division 2 champions. “To find out exactly what changes we’ve made to make ourselves better, you’ll have to enroll at Windsor High School and come out for the wrestling team.”

The Windsor coaching staff is bolstered by the addition of former two-time University of Iowa NCAA All-American wrestler Daniel Dennis.

“Dan has accomplished great things,” Carnation said. “Dan can show our wrestlers the subtle differences that make so much difference. There’s a good, a better and a best way to do things. Dan is teaching our kids the best way.”

Lightweights Perez Perez (113), Noah Au-Yeung (120) and Seth Trunick (126) return as keys to the Jaguars’ success. They’ll be featured at Windsor’s King of the Mat Tournament on Jan. 18.

“I expect Windsor to win the NBL and win the NCS duals championship,” Carnation said. “Analy’s in really good position to win the Sonoma County League because they have good wrestlers in every division. We’ll have to see what actually happens.”

Windsor might dominate team competition, but there are plenty of stars ready to shine in the NBL, Sonoma County League and the Coastal Mountain Conference. Here’s a look at those from whom big things are expected.

LIGHTWEIGHTS

Montgomery’s Dennis Layden is ranked 12th in California Wrestling’s preseason poll of the top 106-pounders. “He’s a really tough kid,” Carnation said of Layden, who finished second in the NCS last year. “He’s the best in the division.” Windsor will offer two juniors at 106 — Austin Wilson and Brandon Potts.

One will wind up wrestling at 113 pounds.

Windsor’s Perez is rated sixth in the state at 106, but will actually wrestle at 113. Upper Lake star Tony Lopez is also among the tops in the state at 113 pounds.

“Upper Lake might not have as deep a team as in the past,” Lower Lake coach Ed Fuchs said, “but Lopez is ranked in the state and will be tough to beat.”

Rancho Cotate’s Brian Guerrero is ranked at 113 by California Wrestling, but is likely to wrestle at 120 or 126. Wherever he wrestles, Guerrero will be tough to beat. Windsor’s Au-Yeung lost in overtime to Guerrero last year and will wrestle at 120 where he’ll challenge for a section title.

Windsor’s Seth Trunick and Upper Lake’s Zack Sneathen headline the 126-pound division. Trunick qualified for the state meet last spring.

Rancho Cotate’s Evan Bluestone will be strong at 132. “He’s physically and mentally a really tough kid,” Carnation said.

Cardinal Newman’s P.J. Klee will be a challenger at any division from 126 to 138.

“He has the same potential to win a state championship that Perez has for us,” Carnation said.

Windsor sophomore Dominic DuCharme will challenge in the same weight divisions.

“It’s hard to tell where these kids will actually wrestle right now,” Carnation said. “Kids are still losing weight and getting in shape.”

Windsor’s Trevor Silva dominated at 138 a year ago and should do the same this year. Cardinal Newman’s Michael Klee is another challenger, but he could move up to 145.

MIDDLEWEIGHTS

Lower Lake senior Dominic Dingus returns at either 145 or 152 after earning a medal in the NCS meet last year.

“We’re definitely looking at him to place well in the section and go to the state meet,” Fuchs said.

Upper Lake’s Eric Moreno could wrestle at 145 or 152, depending on where Fuchs places him and Dingus in the lineup. Ukiah’s Joey Gradek is among favorites to win the NCS title at 145.

Healdsburg star Ian Black is ranked among the state’s best at 152 pounds, as is Ukiah’s Dre Payne. Payne finished fourth in the NCS last year.

“Healdsburg has a good crop of young wrestlers and some veterans like Payne,” Carnation said.

Clear Lake’s Nathan Powers has a section title on his mind at 160 pounds.

HEAVYWEIGHTS

Senior Ryan Dahneke will star for Lower Lake at somewhere between 177 and 182 pounds.

“He nearly medaled at the section meet last year and we think he’ll be really good for us this season,” Fuch said.

Maria Carrillo senior Jacob Groesbeck is a favorite at 182, while Windsor sophomore Anthony Spallino has to recover from a hand broken during football season before beginning his challenge in that weight division.

Santa Rosa’s Justin Ingram is a senior who should headline the 195-pound division along with Windsor’s Paris Henry. At 220, Ukiah’s Jose Contreras is a star entering his sophomore season.

Clear Lake junior Justin Lewis is also a threat to challenge for an NCS crown.

Junior William Isaacs gives Lower Lake a top challenger at heavyweight.

“He had to lose weight to get down to 285 pounds this season,” Fuchs said. “He had the potential to medal in the section meet last year, but lost his last match of the first day to a kid we know he can beat.”

Ukiah’s Pablo Gonzalez and Windsor’s Salvador Carrillo are the best in the heavyweight division in the Empire.

“I would expect both of them to qualify for the state meet,” Carnation said.

 

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