TRUCKEE, Calif. – It’s beginning to look a lot like last year.
The Greenwave wrestling team qualified nine for this week’s state tournament after taking second Saturday in the 3A Northern Regional Tournament. Fallon crowned four regional champs, the most of any team, and had five runner-up finishes as the Greenwave will send one less to state than the 2016 championship team that also had four regional champions.
“As a team, I feel like we were right where we needed to be,” said second-year Fallon coach Trevor de Braga, whose team qualified 10, including four regional champs, to last year’s state tournament. “Everyone is trying to wrestle their best and make it to state and that makes everyone in their weight pretty hard to beat.”
Spring Creek won its second consecutive regional title, scoring 247 points, followed by Fallon (214), Lowry (207), Elko (196.5) and Fernley (108.5). The Spartans also lead the North with 10 wrestlers going to state this weekend at Spanish Springs, while Lowry has eight, including an alternate, and Elko has seven.
“Our numbers hurt us in tournaments like this, as well as duals,” de Braga said about not filling every weight class. “No matter how many matches we win, the team with more kids will be on top as a team. Filling every weight class is very beneficial and that’s been our struggle the past few years.”
Tommy McCormick (113 pounds), Sean McCormick (145), Matt Goings (160) and Ben Dooley (220) captured regional titles, while Terry White (120), Jack Swisher (152), Chase Hyde (182) and Kobe Abe (285) finished second. Mason Smith (126) finished third as Fallon’s final state qualifier.
“The road looks great still for next weekend and we still have one goal in mind to be state champions,” de Braga said. “If each kid takes care of business and wrestles as expected then the team title will take care of itself. The road is tough but that’s nothing new. These kids have fought adversity and wrestled high-class competition. We just have to wrestle smart, confident, tough and mistake-free.”:
The match of Saturday afternoon belonged to Goings.
The junior grappler, who won state last year in the 152 weight class, battled Spring Creek’s Trevor Greener in the semifinal round with a state berth on the line. Greener jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with an escape, and Goings reciprocated with an escape in the third period. Neither wrestler could take control during regulation, sending the match into overtime. After no points in the first overtime, Goings caught Greener for the match’s big break, sending the Spartan to his back on a reversal and ending the match with a takedown and nearfall for a 4-1 victory.
“I didn’t let that kid get what he wanted and I took what I wanted,” Goings said.
After a rough start in the championship against Elko’s Carl Joel Hansen, Goings scored the next 13 points for a 13-2 major decision.
The McCormick brothers are following a similar path as Goings and his older brother, Sam, who both won state last year.
Sean McCormick won his first three matches by pin before facing his toughest test against Spring Creek’s Anthony Chavez. McCormick blanked Chavez, 4-0, to win the division.
“It feels like last year,” McCormick said of the regional finish. “The weight classes are tougher. This year, there are some tough kids but not just as many.”
Tommy McCormick won his first two by pin and then scored a major decision (12-2) to punch his ticket to state and a spot in the championship. The freshman wrestler, who competed in many youth tournaments prior to high school, outlasted Spring Creek’s Riley Fuchs, 8-2, for the regional crown.
“(Youth tournaments) helped me a lot,” McCormick said. “I still get to wrestle the older kids. A lot of that experience helps you learn wrestling.”
Dooley won all of his matches by pin to give Fallon its only upperweight title. Dooley pinned Dayton’s Harley Markus and Lowry’s Trent McKellips both within the first minute of the opening period. Dooley nearly had Spring Creek’s Sheldon Wilkinson early in the championship but caught the Spartan off-balance to snag the pin with only six seconds left.
“Coming in as the No. 1 seed was pretty encouraging. It would be kind of disappointing if I didn’t get first,” Dooley said. “It was definitely grinding. I was a little nervous but I kept a level head.”
White ran out of time against Elko’s Kevin Villegas in the championship, losing 7-5. White won two bouts by pin as well as a 4-2 victory over Elko’s Christian Quintana in the quarterfinals.
A lingering shoulder injury prevented Swisher from wrestling in the championship. The senior awkwardly rolled Elko’s Trevor Basaraba late in the third period to end with a 9-1 major decision. Swisher lay in pain after the bout, opting to finish second.
“He just happened to land on it wrong in his semifinal match and we figured we better not let it get any worse,” de Braga said about Swisher’s injury. “He will be ready to go. He’s a tough kid and wants to be a state champion. We just have to be careful all week at practice and keep him focused and healed up.”
Hyde won his first two bouts by pin and was in good shape in the championship against Spring Creek’s K-Ci Slade, whom he almost pinned on multiple occasions. Slade, though, pinned Hyde with 37 seconds remaining in the match.
“Chase had a great weekend and should have won his finals match,” de Braga said. “He had the Slade kid pinned twice and just needed to hold onto his bar arm to hold the kid down.”
Abe pinned Elko’s Ryan Dittes and Fernley’s Lonnie Slapinski to earn a trip to state. Abe lost in the championship to Elko’s Luis Salazar, 8-1.
Smith was a takedown away from going to state but found redemption in the consolation bracket. After a 6-4 loss to Spring Creek’s Josh Tripp in the semifinals, Smith pinned Sparks’ Walter Gudiel and Lowry’s Cade Bell to score a return trip to state.
“He just needed to finish two of his takedowns to beat him,” de Braga said about the semifinal loss. “He stopped on his shots and Tripp was able to counter. It’s an easy correction so that will help him next week but I’m proud of him coming back and winning through the consolation side and making it to state.”
Although they didn’t qualify for state, Illyes Taleb (132) and Mark Moyle (220) placed in the top six.
Taleb was one match away from wrestling for a state berth but lost a 5-3 decision to Elko’s Daniel Allen in the consolation semifinals. Taleb, though, pinned South Tahoe’s James Knudson to take fifth. Moyle, wrestling as an alternate, pinned South Tahoe’s Hilario Nunez before falling to Lowry’s Trent McKellips to miss out on the third-place battle. Moyle was pinned by Fernley’s Willy Pritchard to finish sixth.
Leo (145) and Blane (152) Aicher, and Conley Hyde (170) each lost both of their matches.