The H-DNL wrestlers got the new season off to a competitive start over the weekend, with several locals impressing at Del Norte’s Battle at the Border tournament.
Nine of the 14 brackets in the boys tournament were won by H-DNL wrestlers, with 18 schools in attendance, including some top-notch Oregon programs.
Del Norte took the boys championship, with Fortuna fifth and a strong showing also by the Hoopa Warriors, most notably at the heavier weight divisions.
Two of the best wrestlers in the league faced off in the 126 final, with Del Norte’s Eric Stansbury getting the better of rival Mason Evanow of Fortuna.
“Those two have been wrestling each other forever, and it was close,” Del Norte head coach Clinton Schaad said. “They’re two really top-notch wrestlers.”
The 195 final was an all-Hoopa affair, with Kae-wett Nelson wrestling up a division and defeating teammate Antonio Correa in the decider.
Hoopa state qualifier Gerard Marshall also got the new season started on the right foot with a strong showing on his way to winning the heavyweight bracket.
“He’s hard to beat,” Schaad said of Marshall, who also is the defending North Coast Section champion.
At 106, Del Norte freshman Chulh-ts’a Bates got his high school career off to a flying start with a victory over Fortuna’s Cayden Spiers in the championship, while at 113, St. Bernard’s freshman Mark Bickmore looked very impressive with an overtime win over defending league champion, Alex Osborne of Del Norte.
As expected, Arcata’s defending NCS champion Joshua Hannan won at 140, as did teammate Dakota Sanders at 120.
In the girls tournament, the Eureka Loggers got the new season off to an impressive start and won the team competition.
More on the Eureka girls to follow.
All nine H-DNL programs will be represented at the McKinleyville tournament on Saturday, which gets under way at 9 a.m.