Windsor High will host 39 of the top high school wrestling teams in California on Saturday for the King of the Mat tournament.
Windsor coach Rich Carnation admitted that the tournament field is so loaded that even he is hesitant to try to point out which weight divisions will be strongest.
“Every weight is filled with top kids, state-level-type wrestlers,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to start trying to mention kids because I know there will be kids here who are state-meet kids but I just don’t know them. Same with the top teams. I know some of the top teams. I don’t know all of them because we’re getting top teams from Nevada and places in California I’m not that familiar with.”
Last year’s meet attracted 200 wrestlers who eventually reached their section championship tournament, and 21 who made it to the state meet.
Wrestling starts at 9 a.m. in two gymnasiums and the school multi-purpose room. The semifinals are tentatively set for 4 p.m. The finals should start at 6 p.m.
“Those are approximate start times for the semifinals and finals,” Carnation said. “If it rains and roads are messy, we could move slower. We never know. The finals will start between 4:30 p.m. and 6, though.”
The semifinals will start as soon as all pairings are set. The same will hold for the finals. The tournament could move briskly and push up the start time of the championship round, too.
Seeding is based on state, section and league placement for each team in 2014-2015, as well as the performance to date of the 2015-2016 teams.
Folsom headlines the field.
“Folsom is definitely the No. 1 team in the field. They just won the big Tim Brown Invitational last Saturday,” Carnation said. “There are three teams from Nevada who jump to mind that are outstanding. Liberty from Brentwood is always tough. There are teams that I’ve never actually watched that have state-tournament-type talent.”
Ukiah and Windsor figure to be the top Empire entrants. “Ukiah’s got a strong team, as usual,” Carnation said. “We’re a little banged up. We won’t have our whole squad healthy. It’s a great tournament field. Just outstanding.”
The feature matchup of the entire event could come at 160 pounds, where two highly ranked wrestlers could have a rematch of a hotly contested match from the Tim Brown tournament.
Second-rated Beau Colombini, from Windsor, defeated Folsom’s fourth-ranked Jason Berquist, 10-8, to win the Brown championship. “There are a bunch of possibly big rematches, but that’s one at 160 that we know could happen,” Carnation said.