At least one local high school wrestler will make the trip from the North Coast to Fargo, North Dakota, for the 16U national tournament this summer, and H-DN fans will be hoping he won’t be traveling alone.
Del Norte sophomore Colton Schaad qualified for the prestigious 2023 US Marine Corps Junior & 16U Nationals with a strong performance at this past weekend’s Northwest Regionals in Washington.
The impressive Schaad placed third in both the freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions, beating out several top young wrestlers from several states to qualify for both competitions at the nationals.
“Colton had a fantastic weekend,” said father and coach Clinton Schaad.
The Del Norte sophomore was one of five Warriors to make the trip, and all five impressed their coach.
Freshman Chulhs Bates, junior Rey Martinez and sophomores Alex Osborne and Caeson Allen each also made the trip.
Osborne impressed in the freestyle competition on Saturday and finished 3-2, while also competing in the less familiar Greco-Roman competition on Sunday and finishing 0-1.
Allen also got some valuable experience on both days, finishing 1-2 in each bracket at the prestigious tournament, while Bates and Martinez competed in the freestyle tournament despite battling sickness and injury, respectively.
Martinez won his opening match, but was then forced to withdraw with an injury.
All five Del Norte wrestlers, however, enjoyed the experience and all five are expected to benefit from the trip.
“I was extremely happy,” the head coach said. “I thought all five went up there and wrestled really well, and they all had a really good attitude.
“We’re trying to expose ourselves to bigger and broader wrestling.”
The top six placers at the regional tournament all qualified for this summer’s national tournament, and Clinton Schaad is hoping more Del Norte and H-DN wrestlers can still make the grade at May’s state tournament, where the top two in each bracket will move on to Fargo.
“It’ll be exciting,” the head coach said. “Hopefully we can get some more of his teammates and some wrestlers from some of the Humboldt schools to qualify.”
The 2023 US Marine Corps Junior & 16U Nationals will be held from July 15 to the 23rd.