The North Section Division II Wrestling Championships were held at Corning High School on Saturday, Feb. 18.
With Lassen being one of 10 schools in the division, pressure was intense on the Grizzly boys to represent the county with all of their might.
While other athletes may crumble under such pressure, the Grizzlies only prospered. Lassen ended up with three individual Division II Champions: Richie Camarena, Levi Prater and Hunter St. Andre.
While not all Grizzly wrestlers ended up on top, Lassen made a huge accomplishment in general by having nine qualified wrestlers in 14 weights.
The first Grizzly Champion, Camarena, wrestled in the 106-pound weight class.
Camarena was seeded first and pinned his two opponents. The first to be pinned by Camarena was a Central Valley Falcon. The second, a Corning High School Bobcat.
Prater competed in the 145-pound weight class and was the second Grizzly to earn a Championship title.
Prater was seeded second and won a match against a Wheatland High School Pirate and one against an Anderson Cub before taking on the Corning wrestler who was seeded first.
In the championship match, Prater came away with the victory after pinning the Bobcat in the third period.
The 170-poud division was where Lassen saw its third champion: Hunter Hunter St. Andre.
Hunter St. Andre was seeded first and faced two opponents before moving on the championship match.
Hunter St. Andre won against a Central Valley Falcon and a Sutter High School Husky to warm up, but his true power wasn’t seen until a Corning Bobcat challenged Hunter St. Andre to the championship match.
After a grueling six minutes of wrestling, Hunter St. Andre came away with the 6-4 win and secured his crown.
The aforementioned Grizzly wrestlers may have been the only ones to emerge champions, but they were not the only Grizzlies to see victory on the mat from the Division II Championships.
Chase Montgomery represented Lassen in the 113-pound weight class and was seeded fifth.
Montgomery was faced with the largest weight class of the day and performed brilliantly overall.
After a tough six minutes of wrestling, Montgomery lost his first match 9-7 against a Live Oak High School wrestler.
However, Montgomery displayed a fantastic case of Grizzly resiliency and went on to defeat his next opponent from Orland High School.
After his victory, Montgomery was put up against an Anderson Cub and came up just shy of the win.
His fifth match put him against a Wheatland Pirate. With his victory, Montgomery finished in fifth place overall.
Dylan Boyer was next for the Grizzlies as he took on the 120-pound weight class.
Boyer lost his first match against Gridley, but he quickly bounced back and won his next two matches against an Orland Trojan and an Anderson Cub.
Boyer’s two wins put him in the consolation finals against the same Gridley wrestler as earlier.
Though Boyer wrestled well, the Grizzly came up short and placed fourth overall.
The 152-pound weight class saw Chandler Monahan on the mat.
Monahan’s first match was against a U-Prep Panther. While the Panther was indeed a fierce opponent, Monahan won the match via pin.
Next up for the Grizzly was a match against the first-seeded wrestler from Sutter High School.
Monahan was truly on fire throughout the day as the match was won via pin and he competed in the finals match against a Corning Bobcat.
Monahan ultimately came up just short against the Bobcat and earned second place for his weight class in the Division II Championships.
Tucker St. Andre took second place for the 182-pound division after winning against a Gridley Bulldog and coming up short against a Corning Bobcat.
Kyle Mejia had lost some of his mojo on the ride to Corning and ultimately lost both of his matches against an Anderson Cub and a Central Valley Falcon.
The great performances seen by Lassen at the Championships resulted in eight wrestlers eligible to move on to the North Section Finals. Also known as the Masters competition, the event was held at the Redding Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25.
The number of qualifying Grizzlies is a record for Lassen that spans more than ten years.
At the North Section Finals, all qualified wrestlers in the northern section competed regardless of league or division. The wrestlers faced one another in an attempt to earn one of two available spots in each weight class that will move on to the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships in Bakersfield, California on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4.