Miners face SFL wrestling champs Thursday | TheUnion.com

Miners face SFL wrestling champs Thursday

Though they were hoping for another chance to go toe to toe with four-time defending Sierra Foothill League Del Oro, Nevada Union’s wrestling team didn’t get the opportunity at Saturday’s section team duals to avenge its lone league loss.

But Thursday, many of the Golden Eagles and Miners who comprised the top two teams in the league are likely to cross paths, when the SFL Championships hits the mats at Nevada Union High School’s Ali Gymnasium.

“Sure, we want to wrestle tough against Del Oro,” said NU coach Nick Saldivar, whose Miners fell three points short to the SFL champs in the dual meet. “We will see them and the boys do want to get after them.

“But this is different. It’s about the individuals now.”

League championship tournaments essentially serve as the opening round of the chase to the California State Championships.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to next week’s Division II championships. From there, the best of the best will move on to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, followed by the state championships.

Along with Del Oro and Nevada Union, wrestlers from Granite Bay, Oakmont, Rocklin, Roseville and Woodcreek will also be in contention for SFL championships.

Nevada Union advanced 10 wrestlers out of the 14 weight classes in 2009. Seven of those Miners want to make a return trip the divisional round, including Tyler Szura (112 pounds), Jacob Purdy (119), Josh Cena (130), Robin Callas (140), Trevor Painter (152) and Michael Champagne (285).

NU will send 13 wrestlers in the SFL fray, with the lone vacancy being at 160 pounds.

“I honestly hope to qualify all 13,” Saldivar said. “I really don’t think it’s out of the cards everybody to qualify. I think it’s very much within our grasp. And I plan on having many of them in the finals.”

Weigh in begins at 7 a.m. Thursday, with first round of wresting set to start at 9 a.m. and continue through the championship finals, which Saldivar expects to begin around 2 p.m.

In addition to Brett Fariss, a longtime supporter and volunteer coach with Nevada Union wrestling, Saldivar said he is also being assisted in hosting the tournament by Del Oro assistant coach Steve Cole.

“We’re competitive with each other, but we still remain friends,” Saldivar said. “We go after each other, but at the same time, at (nonleague) tournaments you’ll see Del Oro and Woodcreek guys cheering for us and the other way around.

“We’re definitely competitive and want to beat each other, but we also want to see the strength of our league out there for everybody to see.”

Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at bhamilton@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4240.

Sierra Foothill League

Wrestling Championships

9 a.m. Thursday

at Nevada Union High School

Junior varsity matches will take place at “The Mine,” NU’s wrestling facility, while varsity competition will be wrestled inside Ali Gymnasium.

Admission: $5 adults; $3 students. Those wearing NU wrestling gear admitted free of charge.

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