Prep wrestlers return to Windsor as King of the Mat tournament resumes
A year after Windsor High School was forced to cancel its annual wrestling tournament, the 20th edition of King of the Mat reconvened Saturday with powerhouse Spanish Springs of Reno claiming the top spot for the third consecutive time.
In 2019, after Jaguars head coach Rich Carnation stepped down to take a spot on the district school board, Windsor canceled the tournament — but this year, with new coach Brian Tiewater at the helm, the tournament resumed its place as one of the top local wrestling contests.
“It was a little stressful,” Tiewater admitted after the meet. “All in all, it went really well. We had a number of teams back out last minute; we had 29 teams confirmed and wound up with 21 teams. It could be some ramifications of last year’s cancellation.”
Teams from area schools like Montgomery, Elsie Allen, Petaluma, Casa Grande and Upper Lake attended, along with out-of-the-area schools like Liberty of Brentwood, Inderkum of Sacramento and Bret Harte of Angels Camp. Spanish Springs was the only out-of-state team.
Spanish Springs suited up two squads this tournament — and of the 14 weight classes, Squad A won six, with frequent second- and third-place finishes in others, for a total winning score of 242.
“(Spanish Springs) are defending state champions from Nevada last year. They always have a great squad — I mean, their B team came in fourth here,” Tiewater said.
Second- through fifth-place teams were Liberty (127), Redwood-Larkspur (119), Spanish Springs B squad (104) and Bret Harte (92).
Casa Grande finished the highest among Redwood Empire teams at sixth place (71).
Windsor was the second-highest finisher out of the local teams, coming in eighth (66.5)
“We did well. We’re kind of beat up right now so we didn’t have a full squad here, but we had two kids in the finals and one champion,” Tiewater said.
Windsor’s champion was Trent Silva, who beat Anthony Bonifacio of Jesse Bethel High School at 162 pounds.
Other Redwood Empire weight class winners were Oscar Cruz of Montgomery at 108 and Ryan Naugle of Casa Grande at 140.
Four other local wrestlers made it to the finals but fell short: Said Noriega of Elsie Allen (108), Jon Frederickson of Windsor (115), Kyle Garrity of Casa Grande (172) and Jack Santos of Petaluma (197).
In awards chosen by the coaches, outstanding lightweight was given to Devin Griffen of Spanish Springs, outstanding middleweight to Silva and outstanding upperweight to Kodiak Stephens of Bret Harte.
Many of these Redwood Empire teams will be at the 22nd Puma Classic wrestling tournament next Saturday at host Maria Carrillo High School.
Wrestlers came in knowing they would need an elevated level of focus because the two local tournaments come right before the league finals, North Coast section meet and state competition take place next month.