Win or go home is all that is left for the Fallon wrestling team.
The Greenwave head into today and Saturday’s Northern Division I-A wrestling tournament at 3 p.m. Spring Creek with one goal in mind: qualify as many grapplers to state as possible. Saturday’s action begins at 9 a.m.
Seniors Jordan Schultz (145 pounds) and David Hughes (170) and junior Sam Goings (160) all enter the tournament the No. 1 seed in their respective brackets.
Jack Swisher (136) comes in as the second seed, although the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association has not released the official seeds as of Thursday. The top four in each weight class qualifies for the state meet next week in Winnemucca.
Hughes and Goings, both defending state champs, are shooting for the second straight regional title, while Schultz aims for his first.
All three cruised with relative ease through last week’s regional dual meet, but cautioned against becoming complacent.
The difference for Hughes, though, is this time last year was his first action of the season. He missed the regular season with an injury, but rebounded to crush the competition en route to the state title.
With a full season under his belt and an impressive finish at the Reno Tournament of Champions, Hughes doesn’t feel the pressure as he did in his younger years.
“I feel really good coming into this tournament,” he said. “I feel like I can win it pretty easily. Even if I feel confident, I have to remember to go out there and wrestle every match like I haven’t wrestled the kid before.”
For Schultz, the senior grappler has turned the corner in recent weeks with top finishes at the Douglas and Spring Creek tournaments. He’s parlayed the success into dominating his weight class last week, although he is determined to once again reach the state tournament.
“I feel pretty confident,” Schultz said. “I’m treating each match like it’s my last one because it could be. I’ve just decided I’m going to stop losing.”
Goings, like Hughes and Schultz, has been riding a wave of success. The difference, though, is the expectations.
He said opponents, teammates and coaches expect him to win, but hasn’t altered the way he prepares for a match.
“I haven’t changed anything,” Goings said. “I go in there, work the moves I’m going to do on Friday and Saturday, and then I do them on Friday and Saturday.”
The formula to state, though, is simple, finish in the top four and the state tournament dream comes true. Admittedly easier said than done, Fallon has the talent to grab at least seven berths, although Fallon coach Loui Mori can see more moving on.
Terry White (106), Mason Smith (126) and Juan Ledesma (182) are other wrestlers who have showed promise and the talent to make a run at regionals.
The difference, Mori said, will be the mental state of his athletes. Now is the time for those who have been up and down all season to rise up to the challenge and show they belong among the league’s best.
As for the team, Mori said he expects a second-place finish, but his team must wrestle to their capabilities to do so.
“I would like to take 10 to 12 kids to state,” Mori said. “They don’t have to wrestle any better than they’re able to, they just have to wrestle as good as they are able to.”