CONCORD, CA (Jan. 23, 2023) — De La Salle wrestling is second only to Spartans football in their dominance of North Coast Section results for the Concord school in the past decade plus.
The wrestling program was stunned two years ago next month with the sudden death of head coach Mark Halvorson, who had led the Spartans to unprecedented heights, including mentoring state champions Kyle Parco and Peyton Omania.
Alumnus Jonathan Clark stepped into void for the pandemic shortened 2021 season and then last year coached DLS to its seventh successive Section championships in both the dual team and team tournament.
The Spartans have 14 dual team titles in the past 15 NCS seasons and 12 team championships out of the past 13 meets. There were no NCS competitions during the 2020-21 school year.
Based on rankings in each of the 14 weight classes earlier this month in The California Wrestler, it appears De La Salle will be odds on favorites to grab their eighth successive championships. The dual team meet is on Feb. 4, two weeks before the NCS Championships Feb. 17-18 at James Logan High in Union City.
The season-ending CIF Wrestling Championships are in their usual home at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield Feb. 23-25.
Senior Gavin Fernandez finished fourth at State last year and is currently ranked fifth at 152 pounds in California Wrestler projections for next month’s meet. He was seeded ninth going into State last year after taking third at NCS. Fernandez was an NCS champ at 132 pounds as a freshman and recently committed to continue his career next year at Cal Poly SLO.
There are 10 other Spartans who are currently ranked in the state including six juniors.
Manuel Martir at 106 pounds is the second highest ranked Spartan at No. 11. He was third at NCS a year ago. Classmate Caleb Tatad is 15th in the next weight class, 113. He also was third at 2022 NCS when Martir wrestled at 113 and Tatad t 106.
Other DLS juniors in the rankings are Carlos Vazquez at 126 rated No 17 in the state, TJ Arvizu 32nd at 160, Giovanni Cuevas 34th at 120 and Franklin Enkhmandakh 35th at 145 pounds.
In the three highest weight classes Roland Sanchez at 195 earned honorable mention state ranking as did 285 class Cooper Cazares. Stefan Bakiev at 220 pounds is a top 15 wrestler but hasn’t posted enough results to be officially ranked.
State individual rankings point to James Logan and Liberty once again the Spartans chief rivals for top honors.
2 Concord wrestlers ranked
Heavyweight Jose Ortiz of Concord High is ranked 29th while posting several top three finishes in tournaments this season after an excellent football season for the Minutemen last fall as the first team all-league nose tackle.
His teammate Seiichi Naddy is honorable mention at 160 after winning his weight class at the Bill Martell Invitational.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.