Nine local youth wrestling teams featuring dozens of local wrestlers traveled this past weekend to compete at the California State Freestyle Championships in Fresno, including five individuals who took first place in their respective divisions.
Dakota Bestul and Brayden Anderson of Eureka, Willie Simms Jr. and Mahleena Scott from Down River Freestyle, and Josie Dowd of Del Norte all took home a first place.
Numerous other locals placed second at the statewide tourney, including Arcata’s Kaidan Bell, McKinleyville’s Erica Punch, Fortuna’s Kelton Braud, Eureka’s Sam Keely and Del Norte’s William McCovey and Channey Schaad.
All in all it was a very strong showing for the local wrestling community and further showcases the continued growth of the sport among girls here on the North Coast.
Institute of Combat and Arcata coach Cass Bell was impressed with what he saw from the local contingent.
“I am so proud of these kids for not only pushing themselves by competing against the best in the state, but for also putting in the extra work post-season,” Bell said.
A number of other young standouts placed third in their respective brackets, including Arcata’s Taylor Bell, who pulled double duty and also placed fifth competing against the boys.
Also placing third were McKinleyville’s Steven Graves, the Ninja Wrestling Club’s Slate Delsman, Natalie Arachi and Mathew Hansen, and Del Norte’s Kalynn Schaad, Eric Stansbury and Aliana Sciple.
Del Norte had the largest local contingent at the big meet, bringing 23 wrestlers.
Among others to impress at the state meet was Arcata’s Chloe Cox, who placed in two different brackets, finishing seventh in her girls division and a very impressive fifth against the boys.
Also competing for Arcata, Donald Hostler, Gerard Hostler and Leland Lake each placed fifth in their divisions, while Skyler Collenberg was sixth in his.
Mya Collenberg and Mason Ruiz each placed seventh and Carter Ruiz eighth.
Arcata’s Cael Johnson missed the medal rounds by one match, taking a tough loss to his teammate and practice partner Mason Ruiz, while Michael Cantwell also fared well in his tough bracket.
It was a particularly strong showing for the Arcata Bad Boys/Bad Girls team, which also won the local championship this season.
“It’s been a great season,” Cass Bell, said. “The kids have been working hard.”
For Eureka, Dustin Barber also placed fifth and Logan Hunter was seventh.
For Down River Freestyle, Sabrina Armstrong placed fifth in her division, while both Lydia Armstrong and Dominic Obie were sixth.
For McKinleyville Freestyle, William Baumgarten Jr. placed fourth, Thurman Henderson sixth and Francisco Mendez eighth.
For Fortuna, Liam Bishop was seventh, Cody Sallee sixth, Preston Killingsworth seventh and Jaden Selix eighth.
For Hoopa Elite, Jason Marshall Jr placed sixth.
For Ninja Wrestling, Autumn Turner was fifth and Andrew Hansen fourth.
For KTWC, Chey-lel’ O’Neill place sixth
And for Del Norte, Ka-get Dowd placed fourth, Adenne Schaad and Autumn Turner were both fifth, David Burshem sixth, Amaziah Cole, David Risling-Gensaw and Alex Cole were seventh, and both Julian Delillo and Reynaldo Martinez eighth.