Wednesday’s wrestling match at Nevada Union High School served as just another example of why the Miners make a concerted effort each season to beef up their non-league schedule.
Whether they head off to a weekend invitational or host a non-conference powerhouse in a dual meet, the reasoning remains the same.
The Miners are simply looking for a match – something they’re not likely to find in Metro Conference action.
Their latest conference clash, a dual with Metro foe Woodland, proved to be just another no-contest. The Miners made quick work of the visiting Wolves in 51-19 win.
One reason the Miners hardly broke a sweat Wednesday was the fact that five of the 14 matches were forfeited by Woodland, as the Wolves didn’t field a full team – something NU head coach Shane Valdez is finding to be a familiar facet of Metro Conference wrestling.
“Woodland is usually a decent team,” said Valdez, adding that the Wolves were perhaps the biggest threat to the defending Metro champion Miners in league competition. “They’re in kind of a rebuilding stage right now, though. They’re not one of the schools that typically has low turnout. Their turnout is usually high. But some of the other schools have consistently low turnout.”
NU’s domination of league competition is nothing new. The Miners ran off 11-straight Capital Athletic League titles, before finishing second to Bella Vista in 2001-02.
Then came the 2002-03 season and the switch to the Metro, which NU dominated in the conference’s inaugural season.
In year two, things don’t look much tougher down the league-season stretch for the Miners.
For example, Woodland came to Grass Valley Wednesday on the heels of a 71-6 drubbing of Metro foe McClatchy – a win that, according to the Woodland Daily Democrat, the Wolves were later forced to forfeit by the Sac-Joaquin Section office for using an ineligible athlete.
“Woodland was the toughest team (among Metro foes),” said Valdez. “You can see why it’s sometimes hard for our team to get up for these.”
While some of the Miners’ top wrestlers – including California’s top-ranked heavyweight Wade Sauer – watched from the sideline due to forfeits, NU took four of the eight matches that actually hit the mat. Three of those eight, though, included NU junior varsity wrestlers who were moved up for varsity action Wednesday.
“I was really impressed with the three JV wrestlers we moved up to varsity. They all wrestled well,” Valdez said. “And we also moved our 119-pounder, Luke Manuel, up to wrestle their 125-pounder (Josh Romero), who is ranked in our section.
“Luke was up for the challenge and wrestled him really well. Even though he lost (3-0), he was in the match, battling against a kid bigger than him.”
Picking up wins for the Miners were Brett Peters (189), who won by pin in 2:52; Andrew Owen (130), who was a 5-3 winner; Michael Halby (135), who pinned in 3:28; and Josh Henry (152), who won by fall in 1:51.
After moving to 2-0 in Metro matches, the Miners now turn their focus to this weekend’s Five Counties Invitational at Fountain Valley High School in Southern California, which is scheduled to include a total of 443 wrestlers.
For fans hoping to get a glimpse of the Miners against top-shelf talent, Valdez said there is home match sure to be worth watching on the horizon.
“We’ve got Ponderosa coming on the 29th (of January),” Valdez said of the non-league dual match with the Bruins, a program which won six of seven SJS Division I titles between 1991-97.
“What’s good for wrestling is to get exciting matches people want to come to, especially if it’s the first match they do come to,” Valdez said. “If the first match they come to is one like this, it’s not going to be a fun one to watch.
“But if they come to an exciting match, against a Woodcreek or a Ponderosa, they’ll enjoy it. And hopefully, they’ll be lifelong fans.”
Nevada Union’s junior varsity also picked up four wins on the night. Kyle Brady (:38) and Jacob Anderson (2:55) each won by pin at 135 pounds. Thomas Brindly also won a 135-pound match, 11-0, while Shane Lingo was a 4-2 winner at 125 pounds.
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The Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer teams traveled on Saturday to Casa Roble High School in Orangevale to play the Casa Roble Junior Rams in Sacramento Youth Football League action.