This isn’t your typical weeknight dual.
It’s nothing like Senior Night and it’s bigger than any tournament that has called the Elmo Dericco Gym for a weekend.
The biggest wrestling tournament in the region comes to Fallon this weekend when eight Division I-A teams will battle to send as many wrestlers to next week’s state tournament in Primm. For Fallon, hosting this postseason tournament gives the community its last opportunity to watch the Greenwave battle for its first regional title in a decade.
The gym needs to be packed. It needs to be loud. And it needs to become the 12th-man and help give Fallon that extra edge to push first-year coach Trevor de Braga’s squad past Lowry and Spring Creek.
“I think the boys will love it,” de Braga said. “Nothing more special than to be in a close match and the crowd is behind you helping and cheering you along.”
Just like the community came out during the football season and supported that state championship team, this year’s wrestling team needs to call on the green and white faithful to help boost its chance at winning the title. And unlike previous seasons when Lowry was the runaway favorite, this year is different. Lowry and Spring Creek have the numbers but that could haunt both teams. Fallon’s lean in comparison but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality.
Six wrestlers went undefeated in the league duals last weekend and three of those wrestlers haven’t lost a match since December. The wrestlers have bought into the new regime with de Braga and Dan Shaw leading this year’s group. All the hard work, early morning practices and daily grind after school in the small morning will pay dividends this weekend.
“The kids I have this year are very mentally tough and I don’t think the crowd or the home atmosphere will distract them,” de Braga said. “I’ve seen home crowds make a team have that edge to win matches.”
This weekend is a chance for the grapplers to shine in front of their fans and supporters for the first time since the Earl Wilkens tournament in early December. And they’re ready to put on a performance that will be talked about for years to come. It’s their time to show the Lahontan Valley that wrestling is capable of continuing the football team’s success by competing for a championship.
“The crowd definitely pushes your mental state to finish stronger,” de Braga said. “I couldn’t be more excited about this weekend and I can tell the boys feel the same way. If we wrestle smart and up to our abilities, they will be successful and competing in the state tournament next weekend in Primm.”
Winning the regional is the next stop for the Greenwave, especially when the tournament field is wide open this season. Having a large and loud crowd could make the difference between Fallon finishing first and second this weekend.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.