PD Preps Insider: CMC’s state wrestling representative

These pages have focused a lot of attention on the Windsor wrestling program recently, and with good reason. The Jaguars just wrapped up a dominant performance at the North Coast Section championships and will send four wrestlers to the CIF state meet in Bakersfield this weekend, while the rest of the large schools of the North Bay and Sonoma County leagues will send five total.

But don’t overlook the smaller schools of the Coastal Mountain Conference, who will have their own representative in Lower Lake’s William Isaacs, who will be wrestling at 285 pounds. Isaacs finished third among heavyweights at the NCS tournament.

Lower Lake has a history of producing big men for the mat. The only other Trojan to make it to the state championships in the past decade was Justin Harrison, who wrestled at 215 pounds in 2010. And the most successful wrestler ever at Lower Lake would probably be Zeb Beatty, who finished second in the state at 215 pounds in 1999.

Cool, calm and collected

Windsor senior wrestler Perez Perez will compete for a state championship at 113 pounds this weekend in Bakersfield. He’s adopted a much different mental approach than in years past.

“I used to let things affect me before matches,” Perez said before the season started. “One time when I was younger I saw a guy with a tattoo and thought, ‘This guy must be tough.’”

Perez has a much healthier approach entering the state meet. “He’s matured,” said Windsor assistant coach Daniel Dennis, a two-time All-American at Iowa.

“He’s showing the confidence from the things he has learned in his career. All that shows in how he’s wrestling right now.”

Montgomery moves up

The Montgomery boys basketball team is ranked No. 13, up two spots, in this week’s Cal-Hi Sports Northern California top 20.

The Vikings (25-5) are the top seed in the NCS Division 2 bracket and host No. 4 seed Concord (21-7) tonight at 7 in a semifinal matchup.

Hot start in cool weather

Petaluma’s baseball team is off to a nice start, with wins against Rancho Cotate and Redwood, in a season that has been plagued early with cool, wet weather.

The Trojans have been led by senior catcher and team captain Austin Thomason, who has four hits in his first 12 at-bats, with three RBIs and two doubles. He’s been solid on defense as well, handling 13 chances without a miscue.

Sophomore outfielder Luke Wheless is also hitting .333 and has scored four runs. Junior Austin Gabbert is hitting .364 (4 for 11).

Klee aims for state title

Across the board, Cardinal Newman might have the dominant athletic program in the Redwood Empire. It’s certainly among the top few. But wrestling has never been a strength at the Catholic school — until now.

Senior PJ Klee, wrestling at Cardinal Newman for the first time this year after transferring from Blair Academy in New Jersey, is currently ranked No. 2 in the state at 152 pounds by The California Wrestler, and that’s before his recent triumph at the North Coast Section championships. (New rankings are due out Thursday, the eve of the CIF state championships in Bakersfield). Klee is aiming for a state title, but he needs to finish just eighth or better to become Cardinal Newman’s first state medalist in wrestling.

PJ’s younger brother, junior Michael Klee, narrowly missed a shot to wrestle at state, finishing fourth at 145 pounds at last weekend’s NCS event.

Latno headed north

Carter Latno, who lives in Sonoma but attends Justin-Siena High School in Napa, has accepted a scholarship to play football at Southern Oregon next fall. Latno is a 6-foot-3, 250-pound senior lineman.

Empire football standouts named to state teams

Leading the selections by Cal-Hi Sports is JaJuan Lawson. The Casa Grande quarterback and defensive back made the Medium Schools First Team as a multi-purpose player.

Jacob Hicks, the Analy defensive anchor, was named to the Medium Schools Second Team. Also making the team was Casa Grande running back and linebacker John Porchivina, as a multi-purpose player.

A pair of players returning next season were among the best of the state’s underclassmen.

Casa Grande linebacker Brendan Jackson made the all-state juniors third team.

Rancho Cotate wide receiver and defensive back Chris Taylor-Yamanoha was selected to the all-state sophomore second team as a multi-purpose player.

Press Democrat staff writers Phil Barber, Michael Coit and Ted Sillanpaa contributed to this report.

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