It went about as good as it could have for the first tournament of the season.
The Fallon wrestling team finished second on Saturday at the annual Earl Wilkens Memorial Tournament at the Elmo Dericco Gym.
Terry White, Sam Goings and Jordan Schultz all went 5-0, although White and Goings combined for three wins by forfeit. David Hughes and Juan Ledesma each went 4-1, while Chase Hyde went 3-2.
Nevertheless, coach Louie Mori was pleased with the efforts displayed by all three even though Fallon stumbled in the championship dual against longtime nemesis Lowry.
“I was real happy with the team,” Mori said. “We had 32 wrestling and all got two or three matches.”
Fallon earned a berth in the title match with wins over Rite of Passage, Galena, Elko and Fernley. Just as important as the wins, though, was the mat time and experienced gained by Fallon’s younger grapplers.
“It’s almost a good thing because it shows us where we’re at and where we need to go to,” Mori said of the Lowry loss. “Some of the kids wrestled really well against Winnemucca.”
White, meanwhile, is the Wave’s jitterbug in the 106-pound class. The pint-sized sophomore still gives up at least 6 pounds, but what he lacks in weight he makes up for in attitude.
Mori said White was tenacious on the mat and using his improved skills to take the match in the direction White wanted it to go. As a result, White earned a pair of pins and a technical fall in his three on-mat victories.
As for Schultz (152), the senior wrestled in the shoes of the injured Trae Workman (a state champ last year) and was just as tenacious. All five of Schultz’s wins came by pin, even though he wrestled up one weight class at 152.
Goings (160), one of Fallon’s three returning state winners, earned three wins by pin and one by technical fall. He hit the ground running in his quest for a second straight title.
“He was on, typical for him,” Mori said of Goings. “Terry White wrestled fantastic.”
Hughes (182), meanwhile, ripped through his first four opponents winning each bout by pin, but fell short in perhaps the most anticipated match of the tournament. The defending state champ was pinned by Lowry’s Beau Billingsley in the title round.
Hyde and Ledesma, however, flip-flopped between the 195 and 220 classes and each came out with a winning record.
“When they jumped up a class, they were giving up 30 pounds,” Mori said.
Fallon’s varsity lineup, though, is far from settled, Mori said. A number of grapplers including Schultz, Jack Swisher and Isaac Kelsey wrestled out of weight.
“They should all slide down,” Mori said of the trio. “That would make a huge difference for us because they are all good wrestlers.”
Mori, though, said his “B” squad showed promise including his son, Louie Mori Jr., who went 3-0, while assistant coach Steve McMorris was pleased with the efforts of Matt Goings (2-1) and Kendall Rogers (2-1).
The trio led the JV squad to a fifth-place finish behind Lowry, Elko, Fernley and the Fallon varsity team.
“He (Louie Mori Jr.) had four really good matches,” McMorris said. “He went out and pinned all four of them. Kendall Rogers … was executing the moves we showed him.”
The success and development of the JV grapplers is critical, coach Louie Mori said. Each team is allowed to send four grapplers to the Northern Division I-A regional tournament, although they cannot score team points.
Still, their presence can take away points from other schools in addition to also qualifying for the state tournament.
Louie Mori Jr., Matt Goings and Rogers are just three of the JV wrestlers who have an opportunity to make a dent all season long, especially in the postseason.