Wrestling: Tigers take Natumas crown
For the Douglas High School wrestling team, not having wrestlers in the two heaviest classes at the Natumas Nighthawk Dual Tournament in Sacramento Saturday wasn’t a problem.
The Tigers went 5-0 as a team on the day to claim the 32-team tournament championship.
Spotting each team they faced 12 points by forfeiting the 215-pound and the heavyweight classes, required the remaining 12 wrestlers to perform at a higher level.
And that’s exactly what they did.
In the first-round matchup with Bear Creek, Calif., Douglas got pins from Garrett Hekhuis, Nico Barker, Cody Spates, Devin Barker, Ryan Pruitt, DeCee Simpson, Tony Ferris and Sean Molina en route to a 9-12 victory.
Round two pitted Douglas against Linhurst, Calif. Douglas rolled to a 62-16 win with wins from Hekhuis, Ryan Olsen, both Barkers and Ferris, as well as pins from Joe Ramons, Nick Ceglia and freshman 103-pounder Jordan Hintze.
Hekhuis’ 21-second pin of Ryan Leyno from Linhurst was the fastest of the tournament for Douglas.
In the third round, competition stiffened for Douglas as the Tigers faced Bay area powerhouse Newark.
Pins by Pruitt and Ferris led the way while Olsen won 6-5 in a flurry of reversals late in the match.
Douglas also got a gritty 12-9 win from Ceglia and prevailed 43-24.
In the semifinals, Douglas topped Golden Valley, Calif., 47-24 behind pins from Hekhuis, Spates, Pruitt, Simpson and Molina. Ramos was down 7-6 late in his match with Jack Anderson of Golden Valley, but scored a takedown with 15 seconds remaining to secure an 8-6 victory.
The semifinal win launched Douglas into the finals against tournament host Natumas.
Natumas jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead, but back-to-back wins from Pruitt and Jake Williams, who was seeing his first action of the season after returning from a back injury, revived the Tigers.
Head coach Lamont McCann then made a critical move. He pushed Simpson up to 171 pounds in an attempt to recoup one of the two forfeits Natumas would receive in the upper weights. The move paid off as Simpson recorded a pin and closed the team score to 21-13.
With Simpson at 171, Ferris was bumped to 189. To avoid Ferris, Natumas forfeited six points at 189 and moved their 189 wrestler to 215 to face Molina.
Molina picked up the 4-1 victory and Douglas took a brief 22-21 lead, but the forfeit in the heavyweight class put Natumas back up 27-22.
Natumas then got a pint at 103 pounds to go up 33-22 and moved their 112-pound wrestler to 119 to get around Hekhuis, but Ryan Olsen stepped up with a technical fall at 119 to tie the team score at 33-33.
The final, and tournament-deciding match at 125 pounds was no contest as Nico Barker took care of business with an 18-3 technical fall to secure the Douglas victory.
Douglas had undefeated performances on the day from Hekhuis, Olsen, Nico Barker, Pruitt, Williams, Simpson, Ferris and Molina. Douglas also took two out of the three Outstanding Wrestler awards with Nico Barker winning for the lightweights and Tony Ferris winning for the heavyweights.
Douglas is back in action tonight with a dual at North Valleys at 5:30 p.m. They travel to Winnemucca Friday and Saturday for the annual Lowry Invitational.