Windsor's King of the Mat wrestling tournament back on

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The King of the Mat is back.

The two-decade-old wrestling tournament at Windsor High School has returned this year after a hiatus in 2019 caused by coaching and administrative changes at the school.

This year will be the 20th year of the multi-school meet.

Longtime coach and tournament organizer Rich Carnation stepped back from coaching last year after he won a seat on the school board and said he didn’t want any appearance of a conflict with a paid coaching position.

The school briefly hired Ken Coburn from Pleasanton and canceled the King of the Mat at the last minute.

The school has since replaced Coburn with Brian Tiewater, a longtime junior high coach who works with Carnation.

He worked to bring back the Jaguars’ marquee tournament this year and rebuild a coaching staff and team.

Twenty-three teams will participate in Saturday’s tournament, which runs from 9 a.m. to about 6 p.m. Championship matches should begin around 4 p.m.

Those competing include locals Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Casa Grande and Upper Lake, along with teams from outside the area like Liberty, Dixon, Bret Hart, Santa Teresa of San Jose, Inderkum of Sacramento and Spanish Springs of Reno.

Windsor is 2-0 in dual meets this season, as is Ukiah, as they sit atop the North Bay League-Oak Division. Maria Carrillo, 1-1 after losing to Ukiah, also is expected to be among the top teams in the division as dual meets continue this month.

Tiewater said it has been a challenge resurrecting the King of the Mat this year, since some teams that had committed to last year’s canceled tournament made other plans this year as well.

“For the first year, I’m disappointed that our numbers are not a little higher, but at the same time, our goal was to get it back running and make sure it runs smoothly and that everyone has a good time,” he said.

The King of the Mat has been one of the largest and most prestigious meets of the year, particularly for the best regional teams. Another top meet, next weekend, is the annual Puma Classic hosted by Maria Carrillo.

Both tournaments typically attract schools from the greater Bay Area and out of state.

Next week, at the 22nd annual Puma Classic, as many as 35 teams are expected to compete.

Both tournaments give wrestlers and coaches a look at how their top wrestlers compare with others before the league tournaments next month.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or On Twitter @loriacarter.

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