By Ray Hamill — Eureka High wrestlers will travel to compete at three different tournaments this weekend, with the varsity boys and girls and JVs all going their separate ways.
The girls team will compete at the prestigious Napa Valley Classic, which gets under way on Friday, while the JVs will compete at the Middletown tournament and the varsity boys at the Anderson tournament.
And for boys head coach Clint Hunter, the trip to Anderson will give his grapplers some more important mat time in preparation for the Humboldt-Del Norte League dual meets, which get under way next week.
The Loggers got a later than usual start with many of their varsity wrestlers still playing football well into December.
That and some minor injuries haven’t helped the team’s preparation, although Hunter feels they have plenty of potential.
“Right at the moment, we’re a little banged up with injuries and sickness,” the head coach said. “But we’re hoping to have everyone healed up by the middle of next week, and I think once everybody gets healthy, we’ll be competitive.”
Leading the way
Leading the way this winter are a trio of dual athletes, who are quickly re-adapting to the mats after a busy fall.
Fresh off the football field, senior Ryan Sylvia (182 pounds) and junior Ruben Gutierrez (147) are each expected to be among the team’s top competitors, alongside senior Skylar Carroll (140), who is coming off a spectacular season in goal for the school’s soccer team.
“We’re trying to get these guys ready to go,” Hunter said of the football players. “It’s a different kind of conditioning. These guys have been puking in the garbage cans and are just kind of hitting their stride right now.”
At this stage of the season, however, the coach feels comfortable with the roster of around 25 he has available, and isn’t expecting any more changes after putting his charges through their paces in order to get them ready.
“We always start out with a lot, and we work them really hard, and a lot of them can’t handle that work,” Hunter said. “But all the people who are going to quit have quit by now, and we’re down to that group now where practice is starting to take on a different look.”
Among the other wrestlers the head coach is expecting some big things out of this year are Casey Sidoti (154), also fresh off the football field, as well as Justice Woods (132) and Jeremiah Martin (115).
And if they can stay healthy, the coach expects his team to contend with H-DNL frontrunners Fortuna and Del Norte.
“I think we’ll be right in there with them,” he said. “If we can get to the end of the season with everyone healthy, we’ll be there. We just don’t have a whole lot of depth.”
The Loggers return home to host a dual meet with Arcata and South Fork next Wednesday.