By Bill Tamburrino
The Ramona Bulldog wrestling team finished Valley League action by beating Del Norte High School 60-12 on Senior Night in the Dawg House and won its first league championship since 2007.
The Dawgs finished undefeated in league matches. It was Ramona’s eighth league championship with coach Steve Koch at the helm. The Dawgs have won Avocado and Valley League titles under Koch and four CIF titles.
“We did what we have been doing all year. We have beaten the teams that we should beat. This group of student/athletes does not wrestle down to the competition,” said Koch.
“Logan White came through with a big win in the 112 bout. He beat a solid kid and set the tone of the match,” Koch said.
“All of our seniors won on Senior Night (Kevin Conroy, Isaiah Ilich, Jacob Ohnysty, Noe Hernandez, Josh Allen and Zach Berg). What a way to go out! Kevin Conroy really came through. He beat the No. 1 wrestler in the county. Kevin has been nursing a shoulder injury all season. He was the first senior to wrestle and the rest followed suit,” continued the coach.
Del Norte got half of its team points in first bout when Andrew Kane beat Noah Lagoe in the 108 bout by fall. Ramona then won the next eight bouts to ensure the win and championship.
White hung a major decision on Ryan Thurman. Vince Adair won by technical fall over Ben Ludwin, scoring 24-9. Martin Dowers recorded the first of Ramona’s five pins by beating Van Schillinger. Conroy downed the No. 1 wrestler in his weight class (134) by an 8-6 decision.
Isaiah Ilich returned to action and pinned Michael Bulkin. Jake Ohnysty followed with another victory by fall over Nick Diprims. Troy Jordan made it three falls in a row with a pin of Hunter Kurth and Ramona had a 36-6 lead and a championship.
Jacob Grybow lost a decision to Jordan Mendoza in the 162 bout and Raul Briseno lost a tough 6-4 decision to Rey Buccat.
Del Norte then forfeited the 184, 197 and 222 bouts to Noe Hernandez, Josh Allen and Zach Berg.
Trae Rodriguez finished off Senior Championship Night by pinning Cory Lane.
Now Ramona must defend its CIF championship. The Bulldogs travel Friday, Feb. 15, to Cathedral Catholic for the two-day event. The Dawgs will be underdogs. Brawley is moving up to Ramona’s division. Brawley has won 12 straight CIF championships and Central High School of El Centro also has a tough team.
“Both teams have some outstanding individuals but our strength is our overall team depth. Our guys will show up and wrestle their best,” said Koch.