Boys wrestling: State’s finest descend on Windsor today

Windsor’s Perez Perez defeated Arcata’s Michael Lefuel in the 106-pound weight class during last year’s King of the Mat wrestling tournament at Windsor.
(CRISTA JEREMIASON/ The Press Democrat)


The King of the Mat Tournament returns to Windsor High School today with 50 teams scheduled to bring some of the best wrestlers in the region to the floor.

The action is set to start at 9 a.m. with the finals matches to be determined as the brackets move along. The championship matches are expected to begin around 4 p.m.

With teams traveling from as far as Spanish Springs, Nev., Empire wrestlers will get a taste of some of the best competition in the state.

“We’re all making a run for the section championships, so it will be a good little tell to see where all our kids are at right now,” Windsor head coach Rich Carnation said.

The reigning state runner-up in the 126-pound weight class, Wyatt Wyckoff, is making another run for the state title in his junior year. He will be set for a much anticipated rematch with Cardinal Newman’s P.J. Klee.

Klee beat Wyckoff in the Sierra Nevada Classic in a “very controversial match,” Carnation said, and it is a rematch that has been long awaited.

Some wrestlers hoping to shine at home will include Windsor’s Austin Wilson, Perez Perez, Noah Au-Yeung, Trevor Silva, Seth Trunick and Beau Colombini.

Wilson, who has been nursing a nagging injury, should expect a rematch with Montgomery’s Denny Layden, as Montgomery’s wrestlers are hungry to get back in the win column after Wednesday night’s loss to Windsor.

“We’d really like to see those rematches,” Montgomery head coach Alex Duerr said Wednesday after the Vikings’ first dual-meet loss of the season.

Other local wrestlers include Healdsburg’s Ian Black and Rancho Cotate’s Brian Guerrero. Both are high in the state rankings in their weight classes. Klee and his brother Michael will travel with the Cardinal Newman team, as well.

Pablo Gonzalez and Joey Gradek are heading south with the Ukiah High School wrestling team, and Ricky Costner from Freedom High School in the East Bay will also be at the tournament.

Another state favorite is Liberty’s Devon Lyle, a senior in the 132-pound weight class, who is currently ranked 26th in the state. He could run into Windsor’s Trunick who is ranked 23rd.

The wrestlers will be fighting for the coveted Ron Elder Team Award that honors longtime El Molino wrestling coach Ron Elder, who may even make an appearance at this year’s tournament, Carnation said. Elder was the head coach for the Lions from 1968 to 1995 and even coached Carnation when he was a student at El Molino and was a Sonoma County League Champion in 1978 and 1979. “My high school coach used to always say, ‘If you build a team, the champions will emerge,’ ” Carnation said. “For me, winning as a team is most important.”

From the referees, to the coaches, to the dueling wrestlers themselves, the teamwork will be on display at the King of the Mat Tournament, and the winners will use this as a building block for section and state playoffs at the end of he season.

“You may not have won your match on that particular day,” Carnation said, “but you still belonged to a team that won and did well. That camaraderie will last a lifetime.”

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