Seven NU wrestlers qualify for section
The Union Staff
Seniors Zach Callas and Luke Manuel won gold medals in their respective 160- and 152-pound weight classes and five other Nevada Union wrestlers kept their season hopes alive Saturday with top-six finishes at the Northwest sub-section tournament in Vallejo.
In addition to the two individual champions, Matt Manuel placed third at 121 pounds, Brett Schauffler fourth at 137 pounds, Joey Stickney fifth at 105 pounds, Kyle Brady sixth at 147 pounds and Tucker Trathen sixth at 173 pounds to conclude the two-day tournament at Jesse Bethel High School.
Each of the seven Miners qualified to wrestle this coming Friday and Saturday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships in Folsom. The top finishers in each weight class will advance to the state tournament March 3-4 in Bakersfield.
“Right now, our goal is to qualify,” Nevada Union coach Shane Valdez said. “You can’t place too much emphasis on these tournaments because that will take away from our real goal, which is the state tournament.”
Nevertheless, Valdez was pleased with Nevada Union’s fourth-place finish in the team standings behind Vacaville, Elk Grove and Folsom.
“We were pretty excited about that finish,” he said. “For us to pull out fourth, that’s a sign of our guys’ commitment to improving and believing in their goals.”
Manuel, who has lost only once all season and is ranked No. 1 statewide at 152 pounds, was literally handed the gold medal when he picked up forfeit victories in both the semifinals and finals.
“Those coaches said their guys were nursing injuries, so they didn’t want to risk getting hurt for next week,” Valdez said.
Callas, now 36-4 on the season, passed a good test in the 160-pound finals when he scored a 3-1 decision against Vacaville’s talented Scott Sandy.
“Zach looked great,” Valdez said. “That kid (Sandy) is ranked in the section. He’s short and stocky and hard to score on. He’s just a real solid wrestler.”
Matt Manuel finished on a strong note when he defeated Miles Francesconi of Elk Grove for third-place, 25-10. Schauffler lost a close match in the 137-pound consolation final.
Brady, the only other senior who wrestled for Nevada Union on Saturday, was another highlight at 147 pounds.
“We’re proud of him,” Valdez said. “This is a great way to finish his senior year. I know one of his goals was to qualify for section and he wrestled solid the whole tournament.”
Bear River’s Corbin Shakely, Addy Gemignani and Chase Duncan placed in their weight classes to advance past the small schools sub-section tournament in Roseville.
Shakely placed fifth at 152 pounds, Gemignani placed sixth at 114 pounds and Duncan placed sixth in the heavyweight division at Oakmont High School.
Bear River finished 13th in the team standings with 48.5 points, third best from the Pioneer Valley League behind Oakmont and Lincoln. Oakmont won the championship with 210 points and Lincoln finished 12th, four points ahead of Bear River.
Shakely (21-8), a senior in just his second season as a wrestler, came back through the consolation bracket to place fifth.
“Corbin has been amazing,” Bear River coach Robert Nebeker said. “He beat a really solid kid from Bret Harte (Justin Kuchman) in his last match.”
Duncan (26-9), a sophomore and only non-senior to advance in the heavyweight class, lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Nate Aufdermaur of Ripon, followed by a tough 3-2 loss against Bret Harte’s Jose Canez.
Gemignani (19-9), another sophomore, lost to eventual champ Seth Robinson in the semifinals and then lost in overtime against Maverick Ille of Hughson.
“Addy has really been improving,” Nebeker said. “Watch out for him to steal a couple of wins at the section tournament.”
JV: Bear River 37, Colfax 35
Bear River wrapped up its season with a comeback win against Colfax and ended the season with a 14-0 Pioneer Valley League record.
In a game that went back and forth, neither team wanted to lose. Bear River managed to come from five points down in the closing minutes to win.
In a balanced attack, the Bruins were led by Jocelyn Fry with eight points. Jasmine McGown and Stephanie Ursiny added six each, while Melanie Fry and Kimbriana Wright both had four. Jasmine McGown, Annie Osterholt and Jocelyn Fry each pulled down six rebounds.
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