Several local wrestlers continued to impress at various tournaments over the weekend, as they build momentum ahead of the upcoming H-DNL championships.
League favorite Del Norte had seven wrestlers place first individually at the Rumble at the Rogue, with the boys taking home the team championship, while a young Fortuna boys team had another strong showing at the Puma Classic at Maria Carrillo in Santa Rosa, placing third overall out of 30 teams.
Arcata’s Joshua Hannan, the top-ranked H-DNL wrestler had perhaps the most impressive showing of all and placed first in his bracket at the highly-competitive Mid Cals tournament in the San Jose area, beating one of the top young wrestlers in the nation on his way to the championship.
The Hoopa, McKinleyville and St. Bernard’s boys teams also had some impressive performances at the Corning tournament, including Warriors heavyweight Gerard Marshall, who finished a perfect 5-0 on his way to an individual championship.
Hannan has been outstanding on the mats all winter and that continued to be the case at the Mid Cals as he improved on his third-place finish from a year ago.
“He had to take out a super tough kid from Louisiana who had 100 wins and one loss on his record,” head coach Cass Bell said of the senior standout. “Not only did Josh dominate, he pinned him in the third round. Sacrifice and hard work pays off for him.”
Freshman Chulhs Bates is also enjoying an outstanding season for Del Norte and that continued this weekend as the youngster placed first at 106 at the Rumble at the Rogue.
Bates was one of five Del Norte boys to place first out of 14 weight divisions, as the Warriors put together another dominating team performance.
Joining him as champion were Alex Osborne at 113 pounds, James Gensaw (126), Curtis Bartley (132) and Jase Mintonye (195).
The Warriors showcased their depth with three more second places and a third place.
At 120, Wyatt Sharp placed second, as did Willie Bommelyn at 138 and RJ Lofton at 170, the latter of whom has given his team a timely boost and has had an immediate impact since his recent return from injury.
Another Del Norte wrestler who has given his team a boost in recent weeks is Braydan Johnson, who continued his recent impressive form with a third-place finish at 182.
The Warriors dominated the 182 bracket, with Johnson’s teammates Rey Martinez fourth and Aaron Burger sixth.
Rounding out an outstanding team performance, Carlo Borges placed sixth at 160 and Hunter Lofton was sixth at 220.
Teammate Karlye Dodson also was third at 140.
At Santa Rosa, meanwhile, the Fortuna Huskies also had an impressive showing at the 23rd annual Puma Classic.
The ever-consistent Mason Evanow led the Fortuna charge and placed first at 122, while teammate Cayden Spiers was third at 108.
Fortuna’s Jordan Jacobs also had a good day and was fourth at 108 while five of his teammates placed fifth in their brackets, including Soren Cheng at 122, Jacob August at 132, Hunter Hatton at 138, Diego Cruz at 145 and Leeland Cook at heavyweight.
Rounding out a big day for the team, Mako Limon placed seventh at 138, giving the Huskies two of the top seven in that bracket.
At Corning, meanwhile, the Hoopa Warriors continued to impress at the heavier weights.
In addition to Marshall’s big showing, Kae-wett Nelson also placed first at 173, while Antonio Correa was third at 185 with a record of 4-1 and Tyler Lewis was seventh tat 198.
Four McKinleyville Panthers also placed in their brackets, including senior William Baumgarten, who continued to impress with a second-place finish at 141 after going 3-1.
Also placing at the tournament was St. Bernard’s Chase Bickmore, who finished third at 116 with a record of 4-1.
Joining Hannan at the Mid Cals, a number of other Arcata grapplers had a strong showing.
Dakota Sanders and Tavis Kjer each made it to day two at the prestigious tournament, finishing one match shy of the medal rounds, while teammates Isaiah Bell, Matthew Anderson, and Gavin Smith each “wrestled their butts off and got so much great experience,” according to Cass Bell.
“I am so proud of everyone this trip,” the head coach said.