H-DNL wrestling championships expected to feature contenders on every team

Submitted photo – All the league seniors will be honored at Saturday’s H-DNL championships.

By Ray Hamill — Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad is expecting just about every team in the H-DNL to compete for individual titles at Saturday’s league championship wrestling meet.

Schaad and the Warriors will host this year’s event, which will get under way at 11 a.m. and will feature nine schools this year for the first time in over a decade.

“We’re super excited,” Schaad said. “It’s been a heck of a year for all the teams to compete, and every team has kids that can win a league title.

“I think this year we’re a little more even across the board.”

Last weekend, a young Warriors team placed second at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire Division-II Dual Meet Championships for the third straight postseason.

Fortuna also has recently represented the league well at the section dual meet tourney, placing third in both 2018 and 2019.

And Schaad believe that’s a sign of how competitive H-DNL wrestling is right now, something they hope to showcase at Saturday’s championships.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I think the H-DNL has gotten better,” he said. 

One of the main reasons for that is the strength of the local youth programs, many of which have been thriving in recent years.

“We’re getting more and more kids out of our youth programs, and our youth programs have come a long way and are feeding the high school programs,” the Del Norte coach said.

With Ferndale and South Fork both fielding teams again this year for the first time in several years, Saturday’s tournament should be bigger than it has been in some time.

Weigh-ins will be held at 9 a.m., and both the girls and boys will compete on two mats leading up to the championship round, which is expected to begin somewhere around 4 p.m. and will alternate between boys and girls finals on one mat.

All the league seniors will be honored and recognized at the event.

A coaches meeting will be held on Saturday morning to determine the four seeds for all 14 weight divisions, boys and girls, and the tournament will be streamed live online on the Del Norte High School website.

In 2021 there was no official league team championship awarded after a very brief and pandemic impacted season, but the Warriors will be hoping to make it three straight boys league titles after winning in 2019 and 2020.

They were undefeated in this past dual meet season, but as Schaad pointed out there are several schools that can compete for individual titles.

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