Youth grapplers ready for Tah-Neva

Fallon's Gabe Hardy works on his moves with assistant coach Dan Shaw during Monday's practice.

Fallon's Gabe Hardy works on his moves with assistant coach Dan Shaw during Monday's practice.

The Churchill County Middle School wrestling team came up with its best performance of the season last weekend.

The Greenwave qualified 11 grapplers for Saturday’s Tah-Neva state tournament, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Elmo Dericco Gym.

Fallon, which competes in the City Division against Carson City, Eagle Valley (Carson), Douglas, Yerington, South Tahoe, Alder Creek (Truckee) and Incline, tallied three wins at the regional tournament including Tallon Amezquita (90 pounds), Mason Smith (100) and Gabe Hardy (135).

The Wave’s Christian Sage (110), Mark Moyle (heavyweight) and Leo Aicher (115) placed second. Coming in third were Blane Aicher (105), Nick Shultz, Tyler Marsh (115) and Tanner Strittenberger (95). Dalton Boice (105) came in fourth to make the cut for the Tah-Neva.

“It was their best tournament all year,” said coach Bill Bursill.

Middle school wrestling allows grapplers from fifth- through eighth-grades to compete, and Fallon’s youngest qualifier is Strittenberger, who is in sixth grade.

While the regional tournament does not calculate team points, the Tah-Neva event does.

The team’s rise to a dominant performance came as a bit of a shock to Bursill. Smith did not compete all season until last week due to injuries. Leo Aicher had not medaled all season, while Hardy had not reached a title match all season.

But when it counted the most, the young grapplers rose to the challenge and brought home 11 medals.

“We won more medals here than we had at any tournament all season,” Bursill said. For what we had, it was a super day.”

Now, the Wave turns their focus to the Tah-Neva, which pits the top four wrestlers from the City and Valley divisions in each weight class against each other.

The intensity in practice, though, will not waver as the club prepares for the Tah-Neva.

“We are going to do a real hard four days, and then on Friday we have a short workout,” Bursill said. “I expect to get three more in the finals and at least two or three in the consolation finals.”

At practice, though, Bursill and his staff will not add any moves, but instead fine tune the skills already developed by each wrestler.

“We stay with the basics and see what the other teams are doing,” he added. “We will work on how we defend Winnemucca or Carson because they wrestle two different styles.”


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