Local wrestlers spend weekend at Tim Brown Memorial tourney

Granite Bay's Loder to defend title
By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
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Dozens of top high school wrestling teams converged on Sacramento Memorial Auditorium Friday for one of the area’s most prestigious events. Granite Bay, Woodcreek and Oakmont are among the teams competing in the Tim Brown Memorial Tournament. The tournament, formerly the Foothill Invitational, now bears the name of U.S. Marine Corp Lance Corporal Timothy W. Brown of Foothill Farms. Brown was killed in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in November 2006 when a roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee he was driving. A donation table will be set up at the event, which honors the memory of Brown, a former Foothill High School wrestler, with the proceeds going to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. For athletes like Granite Bay’s Ryan Loder, the state’s No. 1 ranked wrestler at 189 pounds, this is an opportunity for a test that he rarely gets during the regular season. “This tournament provides our better wrestlers like Ryan Loder an opportunity to compete against other outstanding wrestlers that he may have to compete with in qualifying tournaments later in the season,” Granite Bay coach Mike Lynch said. “The field is very deep. There will be wrestlers competing who are state ranked and nationally ranked.” While teams like Oakmont and Woodcreek have just their most accomplished competitors in this event, Lynch has his entire squad along for the ride. “It is a huge tournament with folks coming from all over the state and some folks from out of state,” Lynch said. “The value to our kids is that it is such a large tournament with so many levels of competition represented that our kids have a chance to compete and gain valuable experience. It is also valuable for them to attend such a tournament so that they are less stressed when they begin attending the CIF State Meet qualifying tournaments in February.” “Those tournaments,” said Lynch, “especially the Sac-Joaquin Section Master's Tournament, can be quite overwhelming to a young wrestler. If that wrestler has competed at a tournament such as the Tim Brown Memorial, he is less likely to be overawed since he has been a big tournament and understands the process and has already seen high levels of competition.” Freshman Jake Elliott (125 pounds) is Oakmont’s most accomplished wrestler, and though he is a bit banged up coming into the tournament, the Vikings have high hopes for him. Elliott finished fourth at the Big Valley Classic two weeks ago. Woodcreek has a number of outstanding wrestlers who will challenge at the Tim Brown tourney. Garrett Jones will be in the mix with Loder at 189 pounds, while Spencer Mason (125), Angelo Ciaraglia (112), Matt Plouff (130) and Josh Young (171) are strong for the Timberwolves. Joining Loder in representing Granite Bay are a number of outstanding young wrestlers. Andrew Broadland (103), Adam Wagner (135) and Matt Morse (140) have been outstanding this year for the Grizzlies. Clovis is the defending champion in the team event at the Tim Brown Invitational, while Loder is one of the returning weight-class winners from last year who return to the event this year. Preliminary rounds take place all day Friday, and the bouts begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and will continue until late into the night at Memorial Auditorium. Cost for one day is $9 for adults and $5 for students.