Numbers have rarely been in their favor but that hasn’t prevented the Greenwave wrestling team from causing chaos in the 3A.
Returning three of last year’s four state champions, Fallon possesses a strong nucleus of returners to go along with a new crop of wrestlers.
Seniors and state champs Ben Dooley and Sean McCormick, and junior state champ Tommy McCormick headline third-year coach Trevor de Braga’s team. Dooley and Tommy McCormick picked up their first title last winter in Las Vegas while Sean McCormick captured his third and will be going for the sweep this year. No other Fallon wrestler has won four state titles.
“All returning state champions are looking to defend their state titles,” de Braga said. “We will have great chances to get national recognition by placing or winning tournaments (like Reno Tournament of Champions).”
De Braga is counting on his three state champs to lead this year’s group of 17.
“I expect them to lead through their hard work and their accomplishments,” he said. “They know what it takes to be a champion and they are natural leaders. We are a young team, so it will be important that these three take the team under their wing and have the kids heading in the right direction.”
Also returning are senior Drew Kramer and sophomores Case Cornmesser, Josiah Rosario, Logan Dixon and Wyatt Hatch.
“The goal is to always win a state title,” said de Braga, who’s assisted by Dan Shaw and brothers Frank and Trent de Braga. “It’s a very difficult task with such a small team but anything is possible when the cards fall in our favor. We want to be competitive and get better and better each week. We have a competitive schedule, which I believe helps us when the postseason comes around.”
New to the team are juniors Andrew Larimer, Ty Lainhart and Tyler Countryman, sophomore Nathan Doyle, and freshmen Isabella Leal, Lucas Prinz, Cody Shelton, Kailey Poracky and Luke Sorensen. This year marks a first for the program, too, as de Braga will have a pair of girls competing, which has been trending the last couple of seasons across the region.
De Braga has the team heading in the right direction thanks to its work ethic.
“The kids don’t shy away from hard work,” he said. “From morning running to long, tough practices, they keep going because they want to be great wrestlers. They have told me their goals, and they’re doing what they need to achieve that.”
But by being young, mistakes are bound to happen but de Braga’s hopeful that the tough schedule will prepare the Greenwave for the late-season push. Two of this month’s tournaments are the Reno Tournament of Champions and Sierra Nevada Classic, which field many of the best wrestlers in the country.
“Being a young team, we are making young mistakes, which is just from a lack of mat time, and it will correct itself the more matches they get under their belt,” de Braga said.
And it will be up to the coaching staff, which has many years of experience, and state titles, to get the team in the best position possible with numbers against the program.
“For the most part, we have a young and ambitious coaching staff,” he said. “We have a tremendous amount of wrestling experience, as well as wrestling achievements. This helps because we know what it takes to win titles, and that’s what we expect our kids to do. We coach to be the best, rather than coach just to be average.”
Fallon will have a tough road to the regional and state championships this season. Although young, Lowry and Elko are well coached and can cause problems, according to de Braga. Returning state champ Spring Creek returns most of its state placers and will be favored to dominate the 3A again.
“They have a target on their backs from the whole 3A, and I am looking forward to getting to wrestle them,” de Braga said.
For the Greenwave to win postseason titles, de Braga said it will need help from other teams scoring upsets and knocking off other top wrestlers. But de Braga is focused on his team filling a competitive lineup.
“We have to take care of business ourselves, of course, but the help from other teams could give us a chance as well,” de Braga said.