Nearly three months of preparation and weekly tournaments will be put to the test this weekend when the Division I-A region converges in the Lahontan Valley.
For the first time in school history, Fallon will be hosting the regional wrestling tournament today and Saturday with a trip to next week’s state tournament on the line. All eight teams ride into Fallon today for a 3 p.m. start that will feature four rounds before resuming on Saturday at 9 a.m. with the championship semifinals. The top four wrestlers qualify for next week’s state tournament in Primm.
Admission for both days of the regional tournament is $10 for adults; students, $5; seniors (62 and older), $3; and children eighth grade and younger, free.
Unlike previous seasons, this year’s regional tournament is up for grabs.
“All of my kids are capable of being the top four on the podium this weekend and anything less will displeasing,” said first-year Fallon coach Trevor de Braga, who’s counting on 10 of his 13 to make it to state. “Just going out and wrestling smart will be the key to going to state. We can’t make mistakes and we just have to go out and wrestle to our capabilities. We don’t have to do anything special. They have put in the work and the time, now they need to carry it over into regionals.”
Lowry, the powerhouse of the Division I-A, hasn’t been as dominant, and Spring Creek has emerged as a contender, as well as cross-valley rival Fernley. Fallon, though, lost to only Lowry and Spring Creek in last weekend’s league duals by a combined 10 points but the Greenwave forfeited three weight classes. Lowry, Spring Creek and Fernley — unlike Fallon — will fill all 14 classes this weekend and have four wrestlers to spare and compete as non-scorers.
“Having a few void classes will hurt any team trying to obtain a title,” de Braga said. “But also having multiple kids in weights can hurt a team. So if you have kids who go out in a weight class and give up pins to their opponents, you’re giving that team bonus points in the tournament. So there are pros and cons to it. But if you have all classes filled and the kids go out and win, it will definitely boost their team points.”
Fallon, though, is up to the challenge and has proven in last month’s tournaments that it can still finish in the top with a smaller lineup.
Boasting a lineup of 13 this weekend, six Greenwave wrestlers enter today’s opening round as the No. 1 seed after going undefeated in the duals. One wrestler finished with one loss while another finished with two losses to give Fallon eight wrestlers with a seed of No. 3 or higher.
Seniors Trae Workman (152 pounds) and Sam Goings (160), juniors Terry White (106) and Jack Swisher (145), sophomore Matt Goings (170) and freshman Sean McCormick (138) each went undefeated (7-0) and appear to be the favorite to win their class and represent the region at state.
Although Goings was Fallon’s only state champ last season, but both Goings and Workman have one goal in mind, especially with this senior class having only two more weeks left in the season.
“All of us have been putting in the work and wrestling,” Goings said. “Carrying our momentum into this tournament and doing what we’ve practiced will be the key to us coming out on top this weekend.”
For Workman, this is his last chance at adding a state title to his Greenwave career. The mission, though, is simple.
“What I need to do is just take one match at a time and don’t over-think things and just wrestle,” he said. “I don’t need to over-complicate it. I just need to keep things simple and do what I do best.”
Sophomore Mason Smith (113) finished 6-1 while senior Kobe Abe (285) was 5-2 and junior Dylan McAfee (126), who defaulted at the end of the duals because of injury, was 4-2. Senior Bryson Abe (170) ended at 4-3, senior Juan Ledezma (182) was 3-4 and sophomore Mark Moyle (220) finished 1-6. Junior Kendall Rodgers (152) will be wrestling as a non-scorer but didn’t compete last week.
The battle, like every postseason tournament, will be in the consolation bracket where wrestlers need grind to survive and reach the third-place match. The beauty about this weekend is if a wrestler drops into the consolation bracket, the season’s not lost as the top four wrestlers qualify for the state tournament.
“From what I have seen and been a part of in my wrestling and coaching past, consolation points win championships,” de Braga said. “It’s very beneficial and important to come back through the consolation side after a loss. When you drop down into the consolation side, you have a chance at more matches to wrestle, meaning more team points. A true wrestler is revealed when they lose a match and whether or not they have the tenacity and toughness battle their way back through the consolation bracket.”