North Coast Section wrestling: 4 from Empire claim titles

Windsor's Dominic DuCharme, top, during a January  meet. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Windsor’s Dominic DuCharme, top, during a January meet. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

By PETER FOURNIER

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

UNION CITY — Windsor’s Dominic DuCharme and Ukiah’s Joey Gradek turned the 152-pound final at the 2015 North Coast Section wrestling finals into a showdown of two of the Empire’s best.

DuCharme got the best of Gradek in a close, 8-6 decision on Saturday night at James Logan High School.
“It feels good. I didn’t wrestle the way I wanted to, but a win is a win,” DuCharme said. “I just wasn’t getting to my attacks at all and I felt he was pushing the pace a little bit.”

Gradek pretty much confirmed he was going all out.

“Usually I’m really methodical with him, but this time … I figured I might as well give him all I got,” Gradek said.

Gradek’s close loss is an improvement from a 6-point loss (according to The California Wrestler) to DuCharme earlier this year.

“Joe’s wrestling better and better, hoping if he can do that he can get a place at state. He’s definitely got the tools to do it, I think. We’ll see how he does next week,” Ukiah coach Thomas Fargoza said of the CIF meet.

De La Salle won the team title, with Heritage in second and Windsor coming in third. Cardinal Newman finished seventh and Ukiah was eighth.

Windsor’s Beau Colombini captured the 160-pound title with a 7-6 decision over Liberty’s Jesse Gregerson.

Colombini’s teammates didn’t fare as well. Anthony Spallino fell in the 195-pound finals and Noah Au-Yeung fell in the 126-pound championship. Both qualify for the state championship meet next weekend.

Windsor coach Rich Carnation said the ultimate goal still hasn’t been reached.

“My expectation is that they come home with medals (at state),” Carnation said. “A happy day, good progress, but this is not our end goal. Those guys, they’re drilling and practicing and dreaming and focusing. Next week, that’s the goal.”

El Molino’s Anthony Gemini clinched the 132-pound title with a 2-1 victory over Tyler Bennett of Freedom.

“I was seeded third, so to make it to the finals is kind of like a dream come true,” Gemini said. “It just felt really good and

I knew I couldn’t blow it because this is my senior year.”

Cardinal Newman’s Michael Klee won the 145-pound title with a 15-0 victory over Heritage’s Jordan Jimenez.

Healdsburg’s Jacob Sloma is going to state, but is wondering what might have been. He lost a close 6-5 decision to De La Salle’s Gavin Hummel in the 170-pound final.

Sloma, the No. 5 seed, was trailing 5-1 early in the third round but tied the score at 5-5 before Hummel took an injury timeout with 12 seconds to go.

With five seconds left, Hummel scored a one-point escape. Sloma thought he landed a two-point takedown, but he said the referees had told him time had run out.

He still qualifies for an appearance in the state championship next week, but it doesn’t take away from the immediate result.

“It’s good. It just hurts because I was so close to being champion, which would have been awesome,” Sloma said. “You just have to put it behind you and move forward.”

Sloma’s appearance in the championship round turned some heads.

“For the first time, people were coming up to me and knowing my name beforehand, which is kind of interesting; you don’t really get that as a fifth seed,” he said.

Five Redwood Empire wrestlers lost in the consolation finals, each of them finishing in fourth and one spot out of qualifying for state.

El Molino’s Samuel MacDonnell finished in fourth at 126 pounds, his best finish at sections after a two-win, two-loss tournament last year, but one spot short of qualifying for state.

“I feel like I got there but I didn’t fulfill what I wanted to meet, but it’s good experience in front of all these people,” he said.

He’s more than motivated to get there next year.

“I’m going to go to a bunch of camps this summer just to get better,” MacDonnell said.

Coming in fourth for Windsor were Auston Wilson, who fell at 113 pounds to Kailen Kelly of College Park in an 8-5 decision, and Luke Au-Yeung at 138 pounds, who lost a 3-1 decision to Christian Chacon of Castro Valley.

Cardinal Newman’s Joey Frazier finished fourth at 152 pounds and Lower Lake’s William Isaacs was fourth at 285 pounds.

NCS CHAMPIONS

106: Aaron Perez (James Logan-Union City)
113: Donovin Guerrero (De La Salle-Concord)
120: Jacob Gardiner (Justin-Siena-Napa)
126: Nathan Cervantes (De La Salle-Concord)
132: Anthony Gemini (El Molino)
138: Justin Hansz (Liberty-Brentwood)
145: Michael Klee (Cardinal Newman)
152: Dominic DuCharme (Windsor)
160: Beau Colombini (Windsor)
170: Gavin Hummel (De La Salle-Concord)
182: Grant Farris (Liberty-Brentwood)
195: Willie Amen (Las Lomas-Walnut Creek)
220: Darryl Aiello (De La Salle-Concord)
285: Murrell Anderson (Newark)