Seniors shine at NCS, Lacy statebound
Amandoli, Denning, Serafini also earn elusive medals, Dragons finish impressive 12th
Senior Aidan Lacy secures the victory that punched his ticket to the state championships during Saturday’s NCS tournament at Newark Memorial High School, where the Dragon took home the second-place medal.
On one of California’s biggest prep wrestling stages, the prestigious North Coast Section championships, nine Sonoma Valley High School boys battled top-level opponents in the two-day 100-plus school sectional tournament, with four seniors capturing often elusive medals, and one of them, Aidan Lacy, reaching rare state status.
As a team, the Dragons claimed an impressive NCS 12th-place at Newark Memorial High School with 88 points, which was the fourth best finish for a Redwood Empire school, following third-place Windsor’s 201.5, eighth-place Upper Lake’s 103.5 and 10-place-tied Ukiah’s 89.5. Sectional powers De La Salle’s 253 points and James Logan’s 236.5 finished first and second, respectively.
Leading Sonoma’s four-senior contingent into Saturday’s medal rounds was Lacy, who posted four one-sided wins, three by way of pin, which sealed his trip to the renown California state championships, while earning the second-seed a spot in the 220-pound title match against Terra Linda’s top-seeded Nathaniel Keeve.
The two big, strong foes clashed in a nerve-racking head-to-head bout, with Lacy breaking through with an escape point for a 1-0 lead, that he couldn’t quite hold and ended up dropping a 2-1 heartbreaker. But he still came away with an outstanding, hard-earned second-place medal, to go with being a state-qualifier.
Lacy will be accompanied on his journey to the CIF state championships by Dragon coaches Kyle Baird and Deets Winslow, which take place this Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, in Bakersfield.
Also earning NCS medals with standout performances for the Dragons were seniors Jonny Amandoli, Sam Denning and Giordi Serafini, who was a rare four-time NCS qualifier and finished with an overall 10-9 sectional record and two medals.
With three solid wins on Friday, Amandoli bounced back from a Saturday-morning loss that knocked him out of the 195-pound title match with a rousing victory that landed him in the third-place bout and a chance to reach state – the top-three finishers in each weight class qualify for the CIF championships.
Also engaged in a nail-biting showdown like teammate Lacy, Amandoli held a slim 1-0 advantage on Windsor’s Oscar Rios, before yielding two points in the final seconds and being tagged with a 2-1 loss and going home as a fourth-place medalist.
Sonoma’s tandem of Denning and Serafini were also impressive in their final high school competitions, with Denning earning the sixth-place medal at 126 pounds, and Serafini snaring the seventh-place medal at 120.
The five other Dragons who contributed to the 12th-place NCS finish were senior Alex Ohan at 170 pounds, junior Max Schimm at 145, junior Harris Meglen at 113 and freshman Dalton Elster in the heavyweight division.
All nine Sonoma wrestlers qualified for the NCS event with top-three finishes at the recent Sonoma County League championships, where Serafini, Denning, Amandoli and Lacy won SCL weight-class titles.