Three firsts for Dragons in 30th VOM Classic
Denning, Lacy, Amandoli win titles, Serafini, Schimm, Gray, Vazquez, Meglin medal; Dragons host SCL Analy Wednesday
Gold medal winner Sam Denning sets up one of his six pins, which earned him a coveted “belt buckle” for most pins in the lightweight division, as former Dragon standouts (from left) Nick Pappas, Spenser Scott, Jordan Winslow, Nick Fedrick and Deets Winslow, who is also a coach, cheer him on at Saturday’s VOM Classic in Pfeiffer Gym.
For three decades, Sonoma Valley High School’s wrestling program has hosted what is considered one of the premier tournaments in Northern California, and the 30th annual Valley of the Moon Classic, which started Friday and ended with Saturday’s finals, lived up to its popular and highly competitive billing.
With teams from 26 schools – including host Sonoma, defending champion Woodland and Ralston Valley from (Arvada) Colorado – hitting the mats in Pfeiffer Gym and the SVHS Pavillion for the action-packed tourney, the varsity Dragons put forth a good showing and finished in sixth place, with Foothill winning the event.
Individually, eight Dragons medaled in the gold division, including seniors Sam Denning, Jonny Amandoli and Aidan Lacy capturing weight-class titles, with senior Giordi Serafini and junior Max Schimm claiming third-place medals, and seniors Peter Gray and Jose Vazquez, and junior Harris Meglen, reaching the podium with fifth-place finishes.
For Sonoma’s co-captain Denning, it was a double title-win tournament as he snared the 133-pound gold medal with a 7-0 record that included six victories by way of pins, which earned him one of the three coveted VOM Classic “belt buckles” for the most pins in the light, middle and heavy weight divisions.
Following champion Foothill’s (Pleasanton) 248 first-place points in the final VOM Classic standings were Ralston Valley’s 239.5, Windsor’s 234, Woodland’s 211, Ukiah’s 202, Sonoma’s 189.5, Rodriguez’s 166, Terra Linda’s 117, Bear River’s 111, Analy’s 99, AA Stagg (Stockton), Winters, Rancho Cotate, Tamalpais, Campolindo, Alhambra, Santa Rosa, Justin-Siena, Fairfield, Vintage, Aragon, Sonoma’s junior varsity’s Golden Sierra, Ygnacio Valley, El Molino and Lick-Wilmerding.
Highlighting Sonoma’s medal performances was the 6-foot-2-inch Amandoli’s thrilling triple-overtime title-win over Alhambra’s 6-6 Quentin Wright at 196 pounds, which was his sixth victory, including four pins, without a loss in the tourney.
An exhausted Amandoli – just joining the team and wrestling last week after recovering from his sterling football season, in which he led the Dragons into the postseason as the Sonoma County League defensive player of the year – took the top position for the third overttime and rode Wright all 30 seconds for the nail-biting victory.
Sonoma’s medal winners also included co-captain Lacy’s dominant gold-medal efforts that led to a 8-0 record, with five pins, at 221 pounds; co-captain Serafini’s 6-1 third-place-medal finish – getting a pay-back win over an opponent who knocked him out of last year’s title match – with three pins at 127; co-captain Schimm’s 7-1 third-place-medal finish – beating in overtime the opponent who dealt him his only loss of the tourney – with three pins at 146; Gray’s upbeat 3-2 fifth-place-medal finish at 114; Meglin’s 5-3 fifth-place-medal finish with three pins at 121; and Vazquez’s 1-7 fifth-place medal finish in the heavyweight division.
Earning medals in the silver division for the Dragons were sophomore Jake Randuch’s first-place 3-3 record with one pin at 121 pounds; freshman Dalton Elster’s 3-5 first with one pin at 221; and junior Chris Lohnes’ 2-3 second with two pins at 107; and frosh Brandon Ruiz’s 4-4 third with one pin at 146.
Also wrestling for both Sonoma’s varsity and jayvee teams were senior Sebastian Amara’s 2-6 with one pin at 153; senior Alex Ohan’s 0-7 at 153 pounds; junior Tommy Jordan’s 2-4 with two pins at 139; frosh Austin Beltran’s 0-7 at 161; frosh Trevor Martinelli’s 0-5 at 107; and frosh David Price’s 0-5 at 127.
“It was an exciting and competitive 30th VOM Classic, with the tournament featuring schools representing four NorCal sections and two states,” said Sonoma head coach Kyle Baird, who’s assisted by longtime former head coach Deets Winslow and Ian Kruljac. “As always, it takes a lot of people to put on such a big event like the VOM Classic and I don’t want to forget anyone, but I do want to thank all the parents and our community for all their great support. I want to especially thank Zach Prohoroff, Suzy Lanning, Ian Kruljac, Angie Kruljac, Mary Serafini, Nikarre Redcoff, Steven Jordan, Nick Pappas, Jordan Winslow, athletic director Bob Midgley, trainer John Holden and my wife Debbie.”
The Dragon varsity grapplers, who defeated El Molino 51-21 in their Sonoma County League dual-match season opener in Forestville last Wednesday, will next host Analy in an SCL 6 p.m. dual in Golton Hall tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 9.