The 2012 edition of Davis High’s wrestling squad featured a group of young guns who had to make up for an experience deficit with pure ambition and desire.
But with nearly all of that set of Blue Devils returning for this season, they’re undeniably locked and loaded. The local matmen are stocked with the ammo that is veteran leaders in their quest to improve on last year’s 2-3 Delta Valley Conference record.
DHS fans can expect the senior sibling duo of Elias and Adrian LoBuono-Gonzalez to be in that leadership role. The 108-pound Elias and the 128-pound Adrian both led the Devils in victories in their respective weight divisions last season.
Junior Marvin Grant also became one of the standouts of the 2012 campaign, and will be just as capable of lending his expertise. He was Davis’ go-to grappler for wins in the heavier weight classes.
Though the DVC championships did not end in the locals’ favor last year, the LoBuono-Gonzalez brothers and Grant each had strong enough tournament outings to qualify and compete in the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason.
“Everybody’s gonna be talking about the twins and Grant for this season,” Blue Devil head coach Ty Brown told The Enterprise. “But I think we have some other guys who are ready to step up and make some noise as well.”
In that next group are burgeoning middleweight contenders like sophomore Tanner Carr and juniors Connor Spann and Jacob Fields. Carr has particular promise after attending multiple offseason camps and spending countless hours in the gym.
Spann and Fields, meanwhile, turned into some of the most reliable DHS matmen as the 2012 season went on — each contributing a few much-needed wins in close conference bouts.
Junior Marquis Turner is another standout-to-be who is hoping to leverage the experience he gained last season in the middle weights.
“(Turner) is just completely loaded with athleticism,” Brown said. “He has done a lot to prepare for the season as well. I’m thinking that he’s just one of the many who may end up doing really, really well.”
Brown is already through his no-cut fall tryout period, and he’s found a lineup of Devils that is 30-strong — including a junior varsity squad — all equally eager to emerge as the next Davis standout. The veteran coach expects most of the roster, which consists of a plethora of newcomers, to stick with it.
Some even had a preliminary test in DHS’ first scrimmage, at Pioneer High on Saturday. Those who saw action included three female grapplers: Lisa Ghiglieri, Sasha Garcia and Sienna Martinez. The collective of Blue Devil girls went 2-4 overall in the contest.
“They got a few victories under their belt (Saturday),” he said. “I thought all of them showed great courage and wrestled tough, considering it was the first time for (Garcia and Martinez). They even wrestled against boys here and there.”
This trio of heroines makes this season the most female-heavy roster Brown has ever had in his eight years at the helm of Davis wrestling. Last year was Ghiglieri’s introduction to the sport, as a freshman. She was joined by the now graduated senior Dontella Stanley later in the season.
And having one extra female on the squad this year means the Blue Devils will be present for more girls wrestling tournaments, such as next Saturday’s scrimmage at Folsom High. A week later, they’ll attend another female-only contest in Stockton.
Meanwhile, the boys will continue honing their skills under Brown’s supervision until they get to action at Vista Del Lago on Saturday. The entire squad won’t come together for conference matches until January.
“That’s when we’ll see what we’re made of,” Brown said. “We have some aspirations for what we think this team can do, but we’ll really find out in January what we’re made of.”
When league opponents do come knocking, the local matmen hope to have some retribution waiting. However, wresting the DVC title from reigning champion Elk Grove will be a challenging feat, considering the Thundering Herd delivered the Devils a 72-0 shutout in 2012.
The plan hasn’t changed for Brown, whose main expectation for this season is for his squad’s earnest best.
“Our goal, like always, is to go out there and wrestle and be competitive as we can be. If we do that, then the other stuff sort of takes care of itself. It’s about going out there and taking the steps necessary to see success.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at email@example.com or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett