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About 300 girl wrestlers expected for Windsor's 'Goddess of the Vine' meet

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Goddess of the Vine teams

Amador Valley

American

American Canyon

Analy

Angelo Rodriguez

Antioch

Armijo

Arroyo

Benicia

Cardinal Newman

Casa Grande

Castro Valley

Clayton Valley

Del Norte

Dixon

Edison (Stockton)

El Molino

Else Allen

Eureka

Folsom

Foothill

Fort Bragg

Granada

Head Royce

Heritage

Las Lomas

Liberty

Live Oak

Livermore

Mariposa

Menlo-Atherton

Miramonte

Montgomery

Napa

Novato

Oakland Tech

Petaluma

Piner

Pittsburg

Rancho Cotate

San Leandro

San Marin

Sanger

Santa Rosa

Silver Creek

Sir Francis Drake

Sonoma

Tokay

Ukiah

Upper Lake

Vintage

Whitney

Willits

Windsor

It can take a backyard vine three years to grow grapes successfully. It’s only taken two years for the Goddess of the Vine to blossom into a viable girls wrestling tournament.

The tournament, Saturday at Windsor High School, filled up quickly with 54 teams — more than double the number of schools from last year, when it had 18 teams and 110 wrestlers in the event’s first run.

This year, about 300 girls will compete in the double-elimination tournament, which begins at 9 a.m. Title matches should begin around 4 p.m.

“The quality of the competition this weekend is also a higher level,” said tournament director and Windsor girls wrestling coach Rich Dixon. “For the second year, I was thinking maybe 30 schools and 200 wrestlers. Shoot for the stars and hit the moon, I guess.”

But Dixon’s shot landed much farther, making Goddess of the Vine one of the biggest girls tournaments in the state, in a sport that’s growing quickly for girls.

Competing Saturday will be more than 10 wrestlers who placed in the top eight of their weight classes at the CIF state tournament. Another 26 state qualifiers will wrestle, as will more than five dozen who placed in their section tournaments.

“For a lot of them, this is their last tournament (of the regular season), so they’re looking to either fine-tune their skills before the sections or trying to get their last face-to-face match, maybe getting a better ranking,” Dixon said.

As girls’ participation in wrestling has grown, many local schools have been able to field complete teams; others have just a couple of girls.

Dixon said it’s been rewarding to watch the development of individual athletes as well as entire programs.

“I’m just stoked. I want parents to know, if you have girls, they don’t just have go to the typical sports, softball, gymnastics, basketball and soccer,” he said. “The more people talk about it, more girls or their parents could think about getting involved in wrestling.”

The tournament is a fundraiser for the program through the Windsor High School Boosters. Dixon said it’s difficult for programs to get paid girls coaches or separate junior varsity coaches.

But events like the Goddess of the Vine are raising awareness of the sport — and of Windsor as a burgeoning mecca of the sport. The 20th edition of the successful King of the Mat boys tournament was just two weeks ago.

For the girls meet, the top five wrestlers in each weight class will receive awards, as will the top five teams. Three most valuable players will be awarded in light-, middle- and heavyweight classes, and the fastest pin will be recognized.

Teams confirmed for the tournament include more than a dozen from the Redwood Empire, including Windsor, Ukiah, Petaluma, Casa Grande, Santa Rosa, Analy, Piner, Montgomery, and dozens from the greater Bay Area, North Coast and even the Stockton area.

Following this tournament, many local schools will have one more dual meet, then head into postseason competition for the rest of the month with league championships, then the section tournament and finally state.

“This area has not seen a tournament like this,” Dixon said. “I’m honored to be part of it. It’s been needed. It should have already been done. It’s pushing, breaking the glass ceiling. And it’s opening coaches’ eyes to girls wrestling, too.”

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

Goddess of the Vine teams

Amador Valley

American

American Canyon

Analy

Angelo Rodriguez

Antioch

Armijo

Arroyo

Benicia

Cardinal Newman

Casa Grande

Castro Valley

Clayton Valley

Del Norte

Dixon

Edison (Stockton)

El Molino

Else Allen

Eureka

Folsom

Foothill

Fort Bragg

Granada

Head Royce

Heritage

Las Lomas

Liberty

Live Oak

Livermore

Mariposa

Menlo-Atherton

Miramonte

Montgomery

Napa

Novato

Oakland Tech

Petaluma

Piner

Pittsburg

Rancho Cotate

San Leandro

San Marin

Sanger

Santa Rosa

Silver Creek

Sir Francis Drake

Sonoma

Tokay

Ukiah

Upper Lake

Vintage

Whitney

Willits

Windsor

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