UNION CITY — Four Redwood Empire wrestlers took home North Coast Section titles Saturday, with two of the winners earning individual titles for the second consecutive year. Eight Empire wrestlers earned tickets to the state meet next weekend in Bakersfield.
Windsor’s Beau Colombini defended his 160-pound NCS title with a second-round pin against Redwood’s Riley Dow, and his teammate Dominic DuCharme captured the 170-pound crown with a technical decision against Northgate’s Ian Morford.
Adding to the collection for Windsor was Anthony Spallino, who grabbed the 195-pound title in a decision over Las Lomas’ Connor Aiello.
“It’s the first time in school history that we’ve had back-to-back champions,” Windsor coach Rich Carnation said. “It shows that with hard work … you can have great success, and we have.
“They did it in a very convincing manner,” Carnation said of the trio of Jaguars winners.
Ukiah’s Nicolas Iversen defeated Del Norte’s Garrett McAlexander to grab the 285-pound title.
For Iversen, it was a bit of redemption after what he considered a disappointing fifth-place finish as the No. 1 seed in 2015, when he was upset by the fourth and second seeds in the section championship.
“Last year, I got too ahead of myself, and kind of flushed my season down the toilet,” Iversen said. “I just needed to grow up a little bit, and I did this year. My main focus has been my mental preparation and how I prepare for matches.”
Windsor’s Perez Perez lost a one-point decision in the 145-pound championship match to De La Salle’s Payton Omania, but will still wrestle at the state meet.
De La Salle won the meet with a team score of 339.50. Liberty finished second with 227 and Windsor took third for the second consecutive year with 201.50.
The biggest winner Saturday wasn’t even in a championship match.
Maria Carrillo’s Cameron Casey probably also didn’t realize that his tooth and left eye were bloodied after his victory by pin in the third-place match against Healdsburg’s Anthony Merlo earned him a trip to the state championship in Bakersfield. He just knew he was going to state.
“I had motivation and I just wanted it. When it was (the third round) and I was still losing, I realized I had to do something differently. I was about to throw him — he got out of that. I decided to go for Hail Marys ... because he was going to win if I didn’t do something big,” Casey said.
Carrillo coach Tim Bruce said it’s the fifth time in school history that a Puma will wrestle at the state meet.
“This one is special,” Bruce said. “He had a lot of adversity this year, and that’s what makes it special.”
Bruce said that adversity, and his work with teammate Josh Groesbeck — who finished fifth at 182 pounds — helped take Casey to the next level.
“I credit a lot of it to Josh, working hard, training hard with him day in and day out,” Bruce said.
Casey, who didn’t even make it to the second day in last year’s meet, knew after Merlo got the first takedown in the third-place match that he had to start pushing it.