Etna High earns showing at tournament, represents as Siskiyou County's lone wrestling team
Etna High School's wrestling team earned a respectable showing at last weekend's The Beast in the North tournament at Anderson High School in Shasta County.
The Lions' eight-member varsity contingent placed 16th out of 26 teams as the lone and singular representative from Siskiyou County.
As Etna's head wrestling coach Dave Downey pointed out: "We are the only Siskiyou team. That's it. Us."
Assistant coach John Souza said Weed and Mount Shasta used to have a team, but they've since dissolved.
Etna, considered a small school with a student population of about 180, competes against other wrestling teams in the Shasta-Cascade League by going to places like Fall River, Modoc and Trinity.
"They're all in other counties, but we're the only one in Siskiyou," Downey said.
Etna does a lot of traveling. "Every weekend," the coach said.
The Anderson tourney was one of Etna's closer travel destinations. Next up are tournaments in Fall River and Corning.
He said Etna has a tradition of going to Anderson's Beast tournament every year. The wrestlers, along with another assistant coach, Scott Forrester, left town at 5:30 a.m. Friday to make it to Anderson in time for the weigh-ins.
Wrestling at the Friday and Saturday tournament were:
- Freshman Ayden Shelton (106 lbs.)
- Sophomore Brody Chester (113)
- Freshman Brayden Isbell (120)
- Junior Colton Downey (126)
- Junior Sebastion Jaime (132)
- Senior Steven Justice (138)
- Junior Alan Bennett (145)
- Junior Sonny Canada (170)
The ninth member of the team, sophomore Tyler Bradford, had to stay behind to recover from having his wisdom teeth removed.
"Not good to get punched in the face when you've just had your teeth pulled," coach Downey said.
The wrestlers are improving on their skills after missing a whole season due to COVID-19.
"Nobody did anything last year," Downey said. "We're knocking a lot of rust off the first half of the season."
The coach said his wrestlers are showing a lot of improvement. They started off well in Anderson with a number of them getting one or two wins under their belts.
"They're kind of starting to piece a lot of it together," Downey said.
Two of Etna's wrestlers to watch in upcoming section matches are Bennett and Colton Downey, the coach said.
Colton Downey wrestled to a third-place finish in Anderson. Bennet earned seventh place in his weight group. Chester and Isbell had eighth-place finishes.
Etna scored 67.5 team points for 16th place, besting such teams as Antioch with 53.5 points for 19th place and Shasta's 29 points for 24th place.
Wherever Etna travels, the team tends to save money on nightly motel rooms by sleeping on mats in classrooms.
The Lions have a reputation for leaving the classrooms cleaner b they roll up the mats and depart. A free stay is one of the perks of cleanliness and good manners.
"Somebody opens up a classroom for us as long as we make sure it's better than we found it when we leave," Dave Downey said. "That's something Etna is known for."
Mike Chapman is an award-winning reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash.Support local journalism by subscribing today.