NCS Wrestling Predictions

Everyone has an opinion of who’s going to win at this weekend’s North Coast Section wrestling championships at Newark Memorial. Count me among those who has one. Last year, Times wrestling writer Dave Carpenter nailed 10 of the 14 titlists correctly and while he thought he could have done better, I think he did pretty well. As Dave did last year, I’ve had a bit of outside counsel in the hopes that I don’t embarass myself. So, here goes nothing:
103 — I’ve seen Liberty’s Paul Gomez wrestle several times this year and I was impressed each time. He should have an easy go of it until the quarterfinals, where he could see DLS’s Vince Moita in a rematch of the BVAL championship. With his previous success against No. 2 Lawrence Blanco from James Logan, Gomez’s stiffest test will come in the semifinals where he could see Dublin’s Dominic Scillitani. Prediction: Gomez.
112 — Liberty’s David Klingsheim is the favorite and rightfully so. He always seems to be working on his skills and improving constantly. Old foe Kellen Aura will be waiting in the championship but I’m thinking Klingsheim gets the nod again. Prediction: Klingsheim.
119 — Nikko, Nikko, Nikko. The chants are getting louder. Triggas is 45-1 this year, with his only loss coming at the ASICS Ironman meet in Ohio way back at the beginning of the season. The match to see in this weight class will be a possible quarterfinal dance between Foothill’s Chase Aura and Liberty’s Roger Hutchison. Prediction: Triggas.
125 — Freedom’s David Prado tells me he hasn’t allowed a point in his last two meets. College Park’s Blake Nichols is the anchor of a very good group of Falcons. Well, something’s got to give but trust me, you won’t want to miss this match if these two make it to the championship
round. Prado beat Nichols 6-4 in the 119-pound championship last year. Prediction: Prado.
130 — Healdsburg’s Porfirio Madrigal is the No. 1 seed and honestly, I have yet to see him wrestle. His 35-1 record is nothing to sneeze at though and I would categorize the local contingent as “interesting” at this weight. Liberty’s Mike Bodkin is the No. 2 seed and didn’t even compete at this tournament last year. This could be one of those weights with an upset, as Miramonte’s Sam Worth and Berkeley’s Paul Navo could do well. Prediction: Madrigal.
135 — Foothill’s Tommy Wipfli took some time off to get healthy and certainly seemed good to go when he steamrolled his way through last weekend’s EBAL tournament. This weight class is loaded though and he could see Liberty’s David Rios in the semis. Then in the finals he should see either Arcata’s Trent Stevenson or De La Salle’s Tyler Sheridan. I think Sheridan is nails but Wipfli is the man to beat. Prediction: Wipfli.
140 — I’m told that the No. 1 seed, James Logan’s Colin Malcolm, is rested and ready for a run. To me, that 25-6 record doesn’t inspire confidence and he got edged 2-1 by DLS’s Nate Spangler in last year’s title match. I’m going with the youngster, Freedom’s sophomore sensation Nick Waldrop. Prediction: Waldrop.
145 — Clear Lake’s Justin Mills and Healdsburg’s Mitch Arreguin enter as the top two seeds in a class that’s a little light on local hopefuls. Mt. Diablo’s Angelo Pree is the No. 3 seed and could make a run but more likely to take a crack at either of the top two is Livermore’s Stephen De La Cruz. Prediction: Mills.
152 — This weight class belongs to Alhambra’s Jordan Abed. After Las Lomas’ Jason Welch beat Abed by technical fall in last year’s 152-pound championship, Welch moved up to 160, leaving Abed as top dog at 152. St. Helena’s Gian Traverso is the No. 2 seed but Abed should cruise. Prediction: Abed.
160 — If somebody beats Welch, they will have slayed the dragon. No dragon-killers here, although I wouldn’t mind seeing a possible quarterfinal match between Foothill’s Tony Barnett and Antioch’s Jesse Unpingco. Prediction: Welch.
171 — This weight class is stacked and Ferndale’s Chris Hubbard is the top seed. He’ll have his hands full with James Logan’s Ricky Streeter in the semifinal and then with either DLS’s Tito Pica or Granada’s Peter Pelle in the championship. Hubbard won the 160-pound title last year while Pica and Pelle placed third and fourth, respectively, at 171. This is the classic definition of a toss-up. Prediction: Pica.
189 — DLS’s Nick Pica is the man to beat here and has only wrestled 11 matches this year. In each match I’ve seen him wrestle this year, he’s gotten the pin each time. Prediction: Pica.
215 — Del Norte sophomore Roger McCovey is the No. 1 seed and favorite here. No. 2 Johnny Merryfield from DLS might make a run, but McCovey has been mighty impressive this year. Prediction: McCovey.
285 — This is one of the most competitive weight classes this year. College Park’s Matt Zonfrello has stayed healthy this year en route to a 28-2 record and the No. 1 seed. But waiting in the wings are No. 2 John Thurston of Ferndale (the defending champion) and No. 4 Stephen Bringuel of Granada, both of whom could have a shot at the title. I’ll say Zonfrello and Thurston make it to the championship with Zonfrello making up for last year’s first-round exit. Prediction: Zonfrello.
So, I picked 12 of the top seeds to win. I’m a risk-taker I’ll tell ya. It’s a strong field this year though and anything could happen. We’ll just have to see how it all shakes out. Action starts Friday at 10 a.m. Finals are slated for 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.