King of the Mat tourney draws a crowd

Windsor's Noah Au-Yeung defeated Healdsburg's Drew Esquivel in the 120 weight class during the King of the Mat wrestling tournament held at Windsor High School in 2013. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Windsor’s Noah Au-Yeung defeated Healdsburg’s Drew Esquivel in the 120 weight class during the King of the Mat wrestling tournament held at Windsor High School in 2013. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

By ALLIE COLOSKY

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Windsor High School wrestling team will look to hold onto its title as reigning champion of the King of the Mat Tournament Saturday, with 39 other teams battling to knock off the Jaguars.

The tournament gets off to an early start, with matches starting at 9 a.m. and progressing over the course of the day as the brackets are narrowed down to one champion in each weight class.

Windsor head coach Rich Carnation said that with such a big pool of competitors, it’s a significant tournament for many teams.

“This is a big tournament compared to all the others,” he said.

Teams will travel from around Sonoma County and across Northern California for the tournament. Two big names looking to dethrone Windsor are the Liberty High School Lions and the Spanish Springs High School Cougars, from Sparks, Nevada.

No expectations can be set for the tournament, Carnation said.

“Spanish Springs always brings tough kids and Liberty has got a great group,” he said. “We are rebuilding with a lot of our guys, so we are going to have to see how our guys step up.”

The Lions feature seven North Coast Section wrestlers in their campaign for the Ron Elder Team award, in honor of the former El Molino wrestling coach.

There isn’t one match to look out for this year, Carnation said, because every level has some great competition.

“This year is big because all of the weight classes have top kids in them,” he said.

Windsor senior Noah Au-Yeung — who is currently ranked first in the NCS — will compete in the 120-pound weight class. Brandon Potts, Austin Wilson, Dominic DuCharme, Beau Colombini and Anthony Spallino join him.

Spallino is also ranked No. 1 in the current NCS standings for the 180-pound weight class.

“The 152-pound weight class is definitely going to be a tough one,” Carnation said, as DuCharme will compete with Joey Gradek from Ukiah.

Gradek placed at the NCS tournament last year and is looking to “improve on his finalist status last year and bring home a championship,” Carnation said.

Last year’s state finalist Wyatt Wycoff, from Paradise High School,will also be returning to the mat in Windsor.

Lower Lake High School heavyweight William Isaacs will have his work cut out for him, Carnation said.

He will compete with Ukiah’s heavyweight Nic Iverson as they fight to claim the right of the top-ranked heavyweight in the North Coast Section.

“There’s just going to be some really great matches,” Carnation said. “We are all in the same boat with our established kids and our younger kids who are looking to make a name for themselves. This is going to be a good tournament for them to do that.”

The tournament begins at 9 a.m., with semifinals matches beginning around 2 p.m.