BAKERSFIELD — The Redwood Empire’s hopes for a CIF state champion died pretty early Saturday, but local wrestlers weren’t done when Windsor’s Dominic DuCharme lost in the semifinals of the 170-pound bracket.
In fact, when all was said and done, it qualified as a banner year. Four area wrestlers finished among the top eight in their weight classes and wound up on the podium at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. The Empire hadn’t boasted so many medalists since 1990, when it also claimed four.
How long ago is that? The 1990 cast included Brett Colombini, who won a state title for Ukiah at 175 pounds. On Saturday, his son, Windsor senior Beau Colombini, was among the medal winners.
Beau Colombini finished sixth at 160 pounds, Jaguars senior teammate Anthony Spallino was eighth in the 195-pound division and Ukiah senior Nicolas Iversen was eighth at 285 pounds. DuCharme, meanwhile, fought back to claim third place, the highest finish ever for a Windsor wrestler.
“I feel good about it, for sure, but it’s not really what I wanted,” DuCharme said afterward. “Coming into it, obviously it was to take first. I wrestled my best. Making history feels pretty good.”
Windsor coach Rich Carnation calls DuCharme “the baby-faced assassin.” The senior doesn’t even yet shave.
“When he was younger, people were looking at him thinking, ‘Oh, I’m gonna crush this kid,’ ” Carnation said. “And the first period’s not even over and they’ve either already been pinned or they’re down 10-, 12-, 13-0. … He’s just barely starting to grow into his body.”
As a competitor, on the other hand, DuCharme is fully formed. He started the day by losing a 6-2 decision to Jeremy Thomas of Calvary Chapel (Santa Ana), who wound up in the 170-pound final. DuCharme then outlasted Cade Belshay of Buchanan, 4-3, and managed to screw up his left shoulder in the process.
“I was in on a double and I felt my shoulder go in and out,” DuCharme said. “Then he went to try and throw me and I felt the same thing happen again. So it popped out twice during that match. Seven seconds left, short time, but I was in really bad pain.”
DuCharme iced the shoulder, popped some Advil during his 45-minute break and took the mat in the third-place match against Steven Comstock of Northview (Covina). That was a close one, too, tied 3-3 when Comstock went for an attack near the edge of the circle halfway through the bout and DuCharme countered it by spinning his opponent.
“I create a scramble situation, a crackdown situation,” DuCharme said. “And we’re on the edge and he can easily go out of bounds, so I was trying to keep him inbounds if possible and bring his weight toward his shoulder blades. And eventually that’s what I did.”
DuCharme got the pin at the 3:18 mark.
Beau Colombini’s losses were gut-wrenching. After falling in a 6-4 decision on Friday, he battled back for four victories — two on Friday, two on Saturday — before coming up short in a 3-2 loss to Justin Pichedwatana of Mayfair (Lakewood) deep into the consolation bracket.
Colombini and Pichedwatana were tied 2-2 after two rounds. The final round started with the Windsor wrestler in the top position, and in a strategic gambit he allowed his opponent an escape. As it turned out, he was never able to get that point back. It wound up being the difference in the match.