Hundreds of high school wrestlers will converge on Windsor High School on Saturday for the North Coast Section Wrestling Team Dual Championships.
Sixteen schools — bringing as many as 20 wrestlers each — will compete in two-team matches all day long in an elimination bracket-style tournament that will crown team champs in two divisions.
Host Windsor, its rival Ukiah and Maria Carrillo are expected to be in the hunt for the Division 2 championship banner, while Healdsburg should do well in Division 3, Windsor coach Rich Carnation predicted.
Matches will start shortly after 10 a.m., following a seeding meeting that will set the competition schedule for the event.
Finals for the two-team showdowns in all 14 weight classes should begin around 3 p.m.
“It’s a real team event. That’s what I love about it,” Carnation said.
Wrestling is often seen as more of an individual competition rather than a team sport, and state champions are crowned individually in each weight class.
“Not everyone can be a state champion. In California, we have roughly 30,000 kids that wrestle,” he said. “At the end of the day in March, in a division, only 14 of them are going to be state champions. That is rare air.”
But in a team competition like Saturday’s meet, an inexperienced wrestler’s performance can mean just as much to his team’s success as a champ’s, the coach said.
Such an event can be a chess match of sorts, Carnation said, as coaches can shuffle wrestlers for better team scoring.
“Even if you’re not a superstar, you can still contribute to your team,” Carnation said. “That’s what I love about wrestling. That kid’s points mean just as much as the other’s.”
Saturday’s meet gives the teams and individuals a final tuneup before league finals are held Feb. 20, followed by the NCS tournament the following week.
Competing in Division 2 Saturday will be Windsor, Maria Carrillo, Analy, Petaluma, Lower Lake, Ukiah, Eureka, Tamalpais High, Redwood High and Del Norte.
In Division 3 will be Healdsburg, Willits, Fort Bragg, Stuart Hall of San Francisco, Livermore Valley Charter Prep and the California School for the Deaf of Fremont.
Windsor has won the tournament each of the past four years.
You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @loriacarter.