Freshman Sean Sweeney, the Cubs' lone North Coast Sectionals Qualifier, found a tough road ahead of him in the NCS.
In his first match Sweeney took on #1 seed and eventual winner in the 170-lb. weight class Senior Arthur Knatt of Foothill. Although Sean fought hard against his older and more experienced opponent he lost by pin in the first round.
In his second and final match, Sean wrestled junior Adrian D'arrigo of San Marin. "The best match he wrestled all season," said Coach Rusty Pricer.
Sweeney found himself down by two points late in the match so he allowed his opponent to get up in order to gain more points by taking him down again. The strategy almost earned Sean the victory but he fell just short losing the match 7-6. Although Sweeney did not win, the freshman earned the respect of the upperclassman as he looks to make a strong showing throughout his high school career.
Senior and team captain Justus Arreguin missed qualifying for the NCS as he lost last week, but he did not go down without a fight. In his final match for the South Fork Cubs he took on a tough opponent in Will Dilling from Eureka. Justus fought off a pin and lost a close match on points.
Arreguin was extremely successful for the Cubs, qualifying for the NCS twice in a career at South Fork that included a junior season without a wrestling program. Coach Pricer could not have been happier with the sportsmanship and focus of Justus Arreguin. "I can't wait to see where he goes in life after school" Coach Pricer said, "I know he will take the hard work and dedication he showed this season and excel in whatever path he takes. Athletes like Justus make you want to coach again."
Senior Megan Garcia just began wrestling this season, but her future looks promising as she heads towards graduation. Megan is an honor roll student who is thinking about wrestling in college.
The future looks bright for the South Fork Cubs, who will return several underclassmen including NCS qualifier Sean Sweeney, as well as Wyatt Gratzel. Gratzel, who has wrestled since he was 6 years old, will be the team captain in his junior year next season. While he was hampered by an elbow injury this season he should be a strong part of the team when he returns next year.
Coach Pricer wishes to extend "A never ending thank you to the parents of these wrestlers. It's really nice to look up from coaching and see our athletes' families and friends cheering on our deserving wrestlers. And a big thank you to Arcata High wrestling for hosting and to Doug Culbert for such a well run tournament." Pricer also wanted to specifically thank the Gratzel family. "They traveled to every tournament whether or not their son Wyatt was wrestling."
While high school wrestling may be over until next school year the chance to wrestle is not for those who are interested. Freestyle wrestling for all ages begins now and anyone interested in participating can contact Coach Rusty Pricer at 707-382-9746 or 707-599-2215. Arreguin, Garcia, Gratzel and Sweeney will all be participating in the Folkstyle State Championships in Fresno March 15-16.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOEY GRATZEL
1. South Fork High School freshman Sean Sweeney prepares to take the mat the North Coast Sections at Newark Memorial High School.
2. Sweeney put up a good showing against much more experienced wrestlers.
3. The NCS were held at Newark Memorial High School in the Bay Area.