Saturday’s Class 5A North regional wrestling tournament was another chance for the Douglas High wrestling program to show how far its come over the last few years.
By the day’s end, the Tigers had punched ten tickets to the Class 5A state tournament this coming Saturday in Bullhead City, Arizona.
Sage Adie was the Tigers’ lone regional finalist at 215 pounds where he ran into Damonte Ranch’s Kyler Blazer.
Adie had the only takedown of the match before being forced to default due to injury after landing on his left arm.
Adie posted on social media later that evening, saying that his arm was broken.
For the second consecutive year Adie qualified for the state tournament with a second place finish at regionals.
“Sage, unfortunately, this is his tournament, just a mat return gone wrong. Just so proud of that young man,” said Douglas head coach Jake Fair. “He feels it. The amount of work he’s put into the team, not just himself. He owns it.”
Aaron Tekansik took third place at 190 pounds for the Tigers, punching his ticket to state for the second straight season.
The Tiger senior went 3-1 with two wins by fall and a 7-0 decision win in his third place match.
Joining Tekansik with a third place finish was 113-pounder, Gunnar Bleeker.
Bleeker went 3-1 on the day and won his two biggest matches in impressive fashion, pinning both opponents in a combined in 2:27.
“Bleeker and his cradles, those are fun to watch,” said Fair.
Cody Highfill (120 pounds) and Caden Martin (285) were both fourth place finishers for Douglas, securing one more weekend to wrestle this season.
Highfill was a state qualifier last season and 2-2 in his bracket, falling in a tightly contested third place match by a 2-1 decision.
Martin, who is wrestling for the first time this season, put together a 2-2 day as well.
The junior started the tournament with a pin before running into teammate Cameron Alloway in the consolation semifinals.
Martin was able to beat Alloway in a tiebreaker, 6-4.
Alloway also qualified for the state tournament, taking sixth at heavyweight.
Kai Blumenthal impressed his coaches with a fifth-place finish at 126 pounds, marking the second straight season he will compete in the state tournament.
Blumenthal went 3-2 with two wins by fall and another by 5-4 decision in the quarterfinals.
Dalton Nixon will join the rest of the Tigers’ squad at state with a sixth place finish at 157 pounds after a 2-3 day. It’ll be Nixon’s second consecutive year at the state meet.
At 165, Travis Haliwell earned a spot at state for the first time in his prep career, taking fifth place.
Haliwell started the day 2-0 before falling twice by pin. However, he worked his way back with a win by major decision in the fifth-place match against an opponent from McQueen.
“He’s (Haliwell) been going through some ups and downs this season. He came out and got some really solid wins,” said Fair. “He did an amazing job to finish out the tournament.”
Izaak Conkle was 3-3 at 175 pounds, taking sixth and also earning a spot at state.
“We went a little harder in practice this week than we usually do,” said Fair. “We tried different techniques to see how we could get the best out of the team. In my 7-8 years as a head coach, I don’t think we’ve had a better showing.”
As a team, Douglas took fifth in points with 128. Spanish Springs won the team portion of the event with 303.5 points.
(Kai Blumenthal works to turn his opponent to his back Saturday at the Class 5A North regional wrestling tournament. Blumenthal finished fifth at 126 pounds to punch his ticket to state for the second consecutive season. / Carter Eckl)
For the second year in a row and third time in the last four seasons, the Douglas wrestling team was awarded the sportsmanship award.
“Super proud of the team. It’s the culture we’ve been growing here,” said Fair. “We went for a blank slate with that culture a few years ago and hit the reset button.”
Fair said the team and the coaching staff has focused on journaling and talking with the athletes to avoid the ‘eruptions’ on the mat.
“When we can all get along and have a good time with it, it’s really fun to do,” Fair said.
(Aaron Tekansik watches as a referee awards him a pin Saturday, during the Class 5A North regional wrestling tournament. / Carter Eckl)