Davis High wrestling coach Ty Brown knew this was coming.
After struggling through the regular season without enough healthy bodies to fill out a lineup, it is now the Blue Devils’ time to shine.
Starting with Saturday’s Delta Valley Conference championships, DHS grapplers compete in the postseason as individuals, which means no more lost points for forfeits. Brown has been waiting for this point in the season, confident that some of his Devils would be very successful, and so far he’s been right.
On Saturday at Elk Grove High, three locals earned second-place finishes at their weight classes, freshman sensation Adrian LoBuono-Gonzalez and senior Andrew Olivas both took third place and DHS seniors Blair Kittle and Navid Fani each placed fourth. All of the Blue Devil wrestlers finished high enough to qualify for the Division I North Divisionals on Friday and Saturday at Franklin High in Elk Grove.
Senior Andy Schmidl (132 pounds) joined co-captains Scott Derby (142) and Philip Toy (114) as DVC runners-up at their weight classes.
“Schmidl appears to be rounding into shape at the perfect time,” Brown said. “I think Schmidl understands now that hard work is the only kind of work there is in wrestling.
“Toy lost to a kid who is going to make the state tournament (and) Derby lost a close match to a section-ranked opponent. Derby is finding himself at the best possible time of the season, he dominated the Franklin kid (earlier in the tournament) and was real tough versus (an) Elk Grove (opponent in the finals).”
LoBuono-Gonzalez, a ninth-grader who is in his first season of wrestling, took third place in the 121-pound division, despite giving up a few pounds.
“(Adrian) weighs maybe 110 and we talked about him being way lighter than most of his opponents,” Brown said. “This kid is competitor. He’s wired differently than your typical Davis kid. He welcomes challenges both mental and physical.”
The Blue Devils’ other third-place finisher, Olivas at 137 pounds, was returning to mat for the first time since November because of a shoulder injury.
“Now the challenge is to find a way to make it out of the divisional round, which features (opponents from powerhouse schools like) Vacaville, Ponderosa, Oak Ridge, Folsom and Elk Grove just to name a few,” Brown said. “The kids from this divisional that move on to masters will be favored to make the state tournament.”