The potential that Davis High wrestling coach Ty Brown saw in his 2012-13 squad is now more than mere speculation.
That’s because the local boys already have won a few medals — earned when the Blue Devils got into action with the Vista Eagle Invitational on Dec. 1. In addition, and perhaps even less likely, DHS wrestlers contended for those top spots in San Marin’s Green and Gold Varsity Tournament on Saturday.
“They wrestled hard in both tournaments,” Brown said. “My young guys are picking it up quickly. They’re making some mistakes, as we expect, but they’re getting out there and trying things that we’ve worked on — I’m proud of that.”
Senior Bray Harwood, who came to wrestling from the Devil football team, posted a top-notch performance in Saturday’s tournament, and solidified himself at third place in his weight class. Sophomore Lisa Ghiglieri, the only girl on the DHS squad, competed at 113 pounds and also placed third.
Brown was eager to point out an effort by sophomore Connor Spann at 152. At the San Marin tourney, the Devil grappler displayed tremendous willpower in the finals against a tough opponent from Inderkum.
“Spann was on his back once, and the ref was about to slap the mat,” Brown said. “He kicked up, and twisted himself through. He showed such a fire to never say never, even though I know that sounds cliché.”
“He just really showed the spirit of what Blue Devil wrestling is about. His heart in that match is exemplary of the cornerstones of our program.”
Spann earned second place for his effort.
Juniors Elias and Adrian LoBuono-Gonzalez have embodied a similar determination for Davis in the early portion of the season — each nabbing top placements in their respective lower weights.
Elias faced a worthy field of 106-pound contenders at Vista del Lago, and went blow-for-blow to end at 2-1 and take third. He landed in the same spot at San Marin, which had nearly double the number of wrestlers vying for medals.
His brother Adrian swept the 126-pound division in the opening tournament, scoring a 9-0 major decision over Del Campo’s Braeden Kraft in the finals to seal the top prize. He returned to the mat and placed fourth at the Green and Gold.
“I went out there, I did what I wanted to do,” Adrian LoBuono-Gonzalez said. “It’s always a good feeling to win.”
In order to build on his early success, the young grappler has been drilling himself on the art of chaining moves together. This, he said, is what “makes a wrestler better.”
And he’s not the only one whose work ethic has been bolstered by the recent competition. His fellow DHS matmen are just as fired up about the prospect of what could be in 2013.
“Everyone has a hard-working attitude,” he said. “That’s really what we need, in order to reach that next level.”
The Devils will need that conviction when they head to the Modesto Junior College Invitational on Saturday.
“The level of competition when we travel down to (the Modesto) area is tremendous,” Brown said. “This is a hotbed for wrestling. It’s going to be a challenge for our varsity guys, but we’re up to it.”
Delta Valley Conference competition does not begin until Jan. 2, when DHS opens at Grant. The Blue Devils’ first home bout will be with Elk Grove on Jan. 9.
“For us to succeed in conference, we’ve got to be headstrong,” Brown said. “In wrestling, it’s about being mentally strong. We have to continue working on that mental resolve to get to where we want to be.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at email@example.com or 530-747-8052.