PD Preps Insider: Newman’s Klee state’s wrestler of the week

Cardinal Newman senior wrestler P.J. Klee not only came back from this weekend’s Tim Brown Memorial Invitational tournament in Sacramento with the championship in the 152-pound bracket, but also was named California wrestler of the week in the state by The California Wrestler website.

Klee, ranked second in California at 138 pounds by the CIF, wrestled up two divisions in Sacramento and defeated the state’s second-ranked 152-pounder, Tyler Zimmer from Clovis West, 4-1 in the final.

Klee, who signed a letter of intent this fall to continue wrestling at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., is unbeaten in California this season.

Elsie Allen makes progress

Elsie Allen’s boys basketball team is the feel-good story of the current season. With five games left on their schedule, the Lobos are already assured of their second winning season since 2007.

Following its victory over Tamalpais last Saturday, Elsie Allen improved to 13-7.

Madison Lott, who took over coaching duties three years ago, called the win over the Red Tailed Hawks the most important of his tenure.

“Tam beat Analy by 30 points and Analy is the leader in the SCL,” Lott said after his team’s 69-61 victory. “It shows the progress we’re making.”

Bradley Greiner had a career-high 23 points (including seven treys) in the Tam game while Joe Hoeup contributed 19 and Jalen Busby 13.

The Lobos’ last winning season was 2009 when they finished 15-12. In the last three years, they were a combined 17-61.

Marine Corps influence

Semper Fi is the past, present and future of wrestling at Maria Carrillo.

Coach Tim Bruce and assistants David Hernandez and Anthony Castleberry served in the United States Marine Corps.

“That’s the type of program we teach here,” Bruce said. “Discipline and hard work. Former Marines teaching these kids. That’s where we come from.”

Bruce was deployed during Desert Storm in 1991, and served from 1985-1992. Hernandez served in Iraq and was in the corps from 2002-2005. Castleberry did tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and was active duty between 2001-2005 and a reservist until 2010.

Bruce took his boys varsity team to see Stanford wrestle at San Francisco State this past weekend, which the Cardinal won 30-7.

Carrillo hosts the Puma Classic on Feb. 1, featuring 45 schools from the area, including NorCal wrestling powerhouse Vacaville.

More girls needed

Things are going about as expected in the first year of the North Bay League girls wrestling league.

Rancho Cotate and Ukiah are the only schools fielding full lineups at every match.

“We knew it would be that way this season,” said Rancho Cotate team captain Cassidy Rodriguez.

“Girls will see how we do this season and that will attract more girls next year. There will be middle school girls who see there’s a wrestling program at Rancho Cotate and, I think, there will be more wrestlers next year.”

Ukiah has doubled its number of female wrestlers since last season.

Climbing the rankings

The top Empire prep basketball teams have moved up the rankings of the Bay Area’s best. Leading the way are the Santa Rosa High girls, ranked No. 11 in the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area Top 20.

In the MaxPreps rankings, Santa Rosa is No. 13 in California for Division 1, No. 6 overall in the North Coast Section, and tops for NCS Division 1.

Montgomery’s boys entered the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area Top 20 this week at No. 16.

In the MaxPreps rankings, Montgomery is No. 16 in California for Division 2, No. 7 overall in the North Coast Section and leads NCS Division 2.

The section seedings would keep both teams home for the NCS playoffs.

The Press Democrat’s Michael Coit, Peter Fournier, Ted Sillanpaa, and correspondent Howard Senzell contributed to this report.

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