PDPreps Insider: Wrestling kicks into high gear

Windsor's Irvin Correa, right, throws Rancho Cotate's Isaiah Barragan during their match at 172 pounds on Wednesday in Rohnert Park. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Windsor’s Irvin Correa, right, throws Rancho Cotate’s Isaiah Barragan during their match in January 2014 in Rohnert Park. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat, file photo)

The big weekend tournament at Sonoma Valley signaled the unofficial start of wrestling season and the league matches kick that into high gear Wednesday.

Four matches are scheduled in the North Bay League with defending league champion Windsor on the road against Santa Rosa, Ukiah at Montgomery, Rancho Cotate at Casa Grande and Maria Carrillo at Cardinal Newman.

In the Sonoma County League, El Molino is at Piner and Analy at Healdsburg.

The ultimate goals for these wrestlers beyond league competition are at the other end of the schedule — the NCS championship meet Feb. 27-28 at James Logan High School in Union City and the CIF state championship meet the following weekend at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

TIGERS COMING AROUND

Elsie Allen (9-4), Piner (7-4) and Sonoma Valley (5-8) all have better records than the Analy (4-7) boys basketball team, but don’t be surprised if the Tigers wind up winning the SCL.

With four players from the football team that made it to the third round of the NCS playoffs, Analy has been slow to come around for coach Brett Page.

“It takes the football players about a month to get in shape for basketball,” Page said. “We’ve been showing progress the last couple of weeks and I think we’ll be fine.”

Chance Ortega leads the Tigers in scoring with a 12.7 average while former football player Malcolm Jenkins has been scoring 12.5 points per game.

The Tigers open league play Wednesday at Sonoma Valley.

VIKINGS LOSE PLAYMAKER

As for the NBL, undefeated Cardinal Newman is a heavy favorite to win the title. Until the last week of December, it looked like Montgomery would be in the championship race. However, the Vikings lost playmaker Michael Septimo to a knee injury and have lost five in a row without him. The last two losses were by 15 points each.

“He’ll be out another two to four weeks,” coach Tom Fitchie said. “He’s such a key for us, it’s a tremendous loss.”

Wednesday, the Vikings host Newman in the league opener for both teams.

The Cardinals come in with an 11-0 record and won three tournaments in the pre-league portion of the schedule.

Montgomery and Casa Grande figure in the playoff picture. The Gauchos are only 6-6 but have won two consecutive games and are playing better. Casa will be at Santa Rosa High Wednesday for its league opener.

NEW CHALLENGER IN NCL I

Willits has won the NCL I the past two years, but coach Duane Nelson said Cloverdale might be the team to beat in 2015.

“They’re very strong and experienced,” he said about the Eagles. “On the other hand, we’re a young team with only three seniors.”
Willits plays at Cloverdale on Friday.

BEAT BY EVENTUAL CHAMP

Football postscript: Campolindo, the Division 3 state champion, knocked off Cardinal Newman (56-14) and Analy (62-46) on its way to a 16-0 record.

“Campolindo winning the state title didn’t surprise me,” Analy coach Dan Bourdon said. “They were the most fundamentally sound team we played.”

Press Democrat correspondent Howard Senzell contributed to this report.