Eureka’s Aracely Rendon led an impressive local charge at this weekend’s North Coast Section wrestling championships, taking home her second individual crown.
Rendon placed first at 189 pounds, and will be one of three Humboldt-Del Norte League girls moving on to next week’s state championships.
The Eureka junior was one of 16 local wrestlers, girls and boys, to place at the prestigious meets, and helped her team to a best-ever fifth-place finish.
“It was a good weekend,” Eureka head coach Cecil Wilson said. “We were very happy with how we did.”
Rendon will be joined at next week’s sate championships by McKinleyville’s Audriana Beattie and Del Norte’s Danika Scott.
Five local wrestlers placed at the two-day boys tournament, which is more competitive than most state championships, capping an impressive season for each.
None, however, will advance to the CIF state tournament.
Del Norte’s Skyler Moore led the local contingent with a fifth-place finish at 126, one of two Warriors to place.
His teammate Chaz Harrison also had a big weekend, finishing seventh at 113.
The Fortuna Huskies had three grapplers place, led by Joey Pontes, who was sixth at 160.
Levi Nyberg took home a seventh-place finish at 145 and Adam Medeiros an eighth-place at 170.
Only the top three in each of the 14 weight classes advance to the state championships.
The NCS boys championships were held at James Logan High in Union City.
Rendon led a balanced performance for the Loggers at the girls championships, hosted by Albany High, with a very impressive seven Eureka wrestlers placing.
Helena Rogers finished sixth at 160, after suffering a knee injury, while Kelli Johnston (126), Keara Ethridge (131) and Evelyn Lopez-Mata (160) each finished seventh in their respective divisions.
“We had several girls that were right there,” said Wilson, whose team qualified 12 of their 14 wrestlers for the second day.
“Which is phenomenal,” he added.
Lucy Rogers (101) and Sarah Grow (116) each also placed eighth for the Loggers.
Beattie, meanwhile, has been one of the most dominating local wrestlers for the past two seasons, and took second at 160, comfortably advancing to next week’s big meet.
The Mack senior lost the championship to Newark Memorial’s Ariana Pereira.
She was one of two Panthers to place, along with teammate Lydia Kenyon, who finished seventh at 116.
Scott, meanwhile, was one of two Del Norte girls to place, finishing third at 235, and also advanced to the state championships.
The top four girls in each weight division qualify for the state championships, which get under way on Thursday in Bakersfield.
Del Norte’s Ashley Turner placed eighth at 189.
Rendon’s big comeback
Rendon had to battle for her title, with a clutch championship-match performance against Kelseyville’s Jasmin Clarke, who placed fourth in state a year ago and had defeated her earlier in the season.
The Eureka standout trailed early 11-2 but battled back to even things up at 11-11 before pinning her opponent for the crown.
“It was very impressive,” Wilson said. “And it was a very good match. One of the best championship matches at the tournament.”
It was the Eureka junior’s second NCS title in two appearances there, having also won as a freshmen.
Rendon was unable to make the trip last year because of injury.
She is expected to be a top-eight seed for the state championships.
The depth of the Loggers challenge was just as impressive for a program that is fast building momentum and establishing itself as one of the best in the section.
“It was an extremely good team effort,” Wilson said. “We had a lot of girls that were right there. No superstars, but they were right there. And we beat some pretty significant teams.”