Lemos wrestles with success in Yerington

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While the silver medal fell short of his expectations, plenty of memories from a highly successful career at Yerington remain for Lemos.

He placed third at the 3A state tournament as a freshman in 1999 and third as a junior in 2001. He compiled a 42-7 record this season and his 38 pins rank among the best ever for any individual for one season, according to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association record book.

Even so, there is one award Lemos says he is especially proud of -- the Northern Nevada Officials Association's Small Schools Sportsman of the Year Award, which he received during a ceremony at the Northern 3A Regional Tournament on Feb. 2 in Fernley. The award encompassed all wrestling programs within the state's 3A and 2A classifications.

"That was a pretty neat thing," said Yerington coach Rod Lemos, who is also Daniel's uncle. "He got a standing ovation from just about the whole crowd."

That type of respect showed up when Lemos was nominated for the honor by a member of his school's faculty: "He has the strengths, whether it be his ability to reason and problem-solve, mechanical ability, listening, being a landowner, or just the fact that he can carry on a great discussion about life. He is an intelligent, insightful person who will go far. Even though his interests are farming and ranching, he has taken courses at his high school to challenge and expand his mind. When he puts his mind to something, he is very dedicated and will accomplish it!"

That blue collar work ethic carried him not only to the state tournament championship round this year, but to a 111-34 career record. His 38 pins this season eclipsed the school record of 37 set by Mike Lommori Jr. in 1979 and his 87 career pins equaled the total compiled by Lommori between 1976 and '79.

Those are numbers that compare favorably with some of the best individuals in the state regardless of classification and one of the best in a storied Yerington wrestling history.

Just to dust off the archives, Yerington and Eldorado (Las Vegas) share the distinction of having won the most state team wrestling champions in Nevada with 11 each. Yerington won nine straight 2A state titles between 1972 and '80, during which time the Lions compiled a massive streak of 107 straight dual meet victories under then coach Mike Lommori Sr.

Not surprisingly, Daniel's father and uncle figured prominently in those glory years: Daniel Lemos Sr. won four individual state championships (1977-80) and Rod won three straight (1976-78).

Those were some awfully big footsteps for young Daniel to try and follow as a freshman at Yerington.

"His dad was a four-time state champion and all of a sudden he's stuck in this day and age," Rod Lemos said. "He had a winning record (as a freshman), but he was being compared to what we were doing back in the 70s. The thing is, it's a whole lot different now. What we were doing back then doesn't begin to compare with what these kids are doing now."

Even though Lemos didn't pursue any other sports at Yerington, he never became involved with any of the spring or summer freestyle wrestling programs.

His wrestling season extends from November until February, which makes such accomplishments as his eighth-place medal finish at Reno's 92-team Sierra Nevada Classic in December all the more impressive. In between, Daniel spends time helping his father on the farm -- "I help cut hay, bale the hay and I do most of the hauling" -- and of course, he says there has never been any pressure at home to wrestle.

"My dad and uncle have never compared themselves to me," Daniel said. "There was no pressure. I just like wrestling."

There's just one real regret. After posting a 33-19 record and third-place finish at state as a freshman, he took a year off from wrestling.

"I wish I would have wrestled my sophomore year," Lemos said. "I don't know why I didn't, really. I lost one match in 7th and 8th grade, then I went to high school the next year and got my butt kicked. That was hard to take."

Lemos came back strong as a junior last year, when he went 36-8 with 26 pins and again placed third at state. Then on Saturday, the end to his career came on a losing note against Woods, who ended up 50-1 this season.

"Woods pinned me pretty quick," Lemos said of the first-round fall. "I wish I could have given him a better match. I wish the season was a little longer because I'd like another shot at him."

That's natural. After all, Daniel Lemos is a competitor. And a true sportsman.

Dave Price is a sports writer for the Nevada Appeal


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