chasing a title
In Mitch Overlie’s 15 years of coaching wrestling, the Greenwave have never won a state championship.
Fallon would love nothing more than to see that streak come to end as it looks to buck the defending state champion Lowry Buckaroos on Saturday in the 2014 NIAA Division I-A State High School Wrestling Championships at the Primm Valley Resort’s Star of the Desert Arena.
“I’m not a big one for making predictions or putting bulletin material up on Lowry,” Overlie said of Fallon’s divisional foe, which easily won the regional tournament last week by almost 100 points. “We’re just a couple of their guys being upset from taking that state title away if we can wrestle really well.”
Fallon qualified 10 from last week’s tournament, including four champions in the lower middleweights, as Overlie’s club tries to win the school’s first-ever state wrestling championship.
Anthony Sabatino (126 pounds), Sam Goings (138) and Trae Workman (145) each boast identical 11-0 records after sweeping the league duals two weeks ago and then winning all three matches in last week’s regional. David Hughes (160) made his season debut and won his weight class.
But if Fallon wants to make a run at Lowry for the team championship, let alone send an individual to the top for the first time since the old 4A, the Greenwave will need to simply win.
With depth always an issue, Overlie, though, is hoping that quality will prevail over quantity.
“They’re going to come to wrestle. I think we’ve come a long ways to catching them,” Overlie said. “I couldn’t ask or a better group of guys. We’ll give them a run. We’ve got the quality.”
Sabatino provided the most excitement last weekend in Sparks as he scored three points in the final 15 seconds to force overtime against Lowry’s Nate Nelson. Sabatino was nearly taken down in the overtime period but caught Nelson off guard to pin him for the regional crown.
Sabatino (11-0) will take on Desert Pine’s Ramon Verduzco (6-3) in the first match of the day, while Dayton’s Ryan Greenwalt (7-4) faces Chaparral’s Miguel Guerra (8-1) with the two winners meeting in the semifinals. Elko’s Trevor Basaraba (6-5) and Lowry’s Nate Nelson (9-2) are on the other side of the bracket.
Like Sabatino, Goings’ regional match against Spring Creek’s Sheldon Davis went wire-to-wire as both wrestlers failed to score in the first two periods. A reversal in the final period was all Goings needed to win the match, 2-0.
Goings (11-0), who fell in the state final last year, opens with Desert Pine’s Eric Awa-Moppert (8-3) and could face Lowry’s Gabe Molina (8-3) if both northern wrestlers win their quarterfinal match-ups against the South. Elko’s Jared Pawlik (7-5) and Spring Creek’s Sheldon Davis (9-2) compete on the other side.
“I definitely have a chip on my shoulder,” Goings said. “Last year I was so close and this year it’s just been one of those years where it’s (a championship) is all I can think about.”
Workman made quick work of Spring Creek’s Anthony Barrington to stay unbeaten against the Northern Division I-A while teammate Jordan Schultz took third.
In the only weight class that will feature two Fallon wrestlers, Workman (11-0) and Schultz (4-1) open against Moapa Valley’s Jake Repp (8-2) and Western’s Daniel Zelaya (8-1), respectively. If both win, they will face each other in the semifinals, while Fernley’s Giovanni Piroddi (7-5) and Spring Creek’s Anthony Barrington (9-3) will battle in the other half of the bracket.
“I’ve been wrestling all my life and state is something that I have been pushing toward,” Workman said.
The comeback story of year has belonged to 160-pound wrestler David Hughes.
The junior made his first appearance of the season at the regional tournament and didn’t show many signs of rustiness since being sidelined from sports since the summer. Hughes pinned his first two opponents before scoring a big decision over Fernley’s Anfernee Sloan, 11-4.
Hughes (3-0) looks to complete his miraculous return to the mat as he opens with Mojave’s Anthony Tario (5-3) with the winner taking on either Elko’s Gage Castagnetti (11-2) or Pahrump’s Jon Corrow (7-1). Lowry’s Shaun Mentaberry (8-4) and Sloan (10-1) represent the North as well.
Three wrestlers advanced to the finals but fell short of joining their teammates on top of the podium.
Jesse Francki (182), Dakota Schelling (195) and Ricky Rogers (220) each won their first two matches to reach the regional championship.
Francki (7-3) and Western’s Andrew Solis (8-1) will tangle in the quarterfinals with either Spring Creek’s Brennan Reese (6-5) or Pahrump’s Abraham Preciado (7-2) waiting in the semifinals. Schelling (8-2) will meet Clark’s Paul Menard, who has competed in only five league matches (4-1) this season, in the quarterfinals, while Fernley’s Christophe Kilbride (5-6) and Clark’s Michel Hervis (8-0) face off in the other quarterfinal of the bracket. Rogers (8-2) faces Boulder City’s William Dunagan (8-1) in the quarterfinal with the winner taking on either Clark’s Edwin Centeno (9-0) or Spring Creek’s Jesse James (1-2).
Dylan McAfee (113), Jack Swisher (132) and Schultz (145) battled in the consolation bracket to finish in the top four and advance to the state tournament. Both Swisher and Schultz wrestled primarily on the junior varsity squad before scoring upsets last weekend.
McAfee (4-4) will face Western’s Erik Gonzalez (7-1) in the quarterfinals and could meet a familiar foe in Lowry’s Ignacia Medina (9-2) in the semifinals. Spring Creek’s Eric Forstrom (8-4) and Elko’s Aram Villegas (11-0) are competing on the other side of the bracket.
Swisher (2-2) faces Virgin Valley’s Hunter Woods, who comes in undefeated with a 9-0 record against the southern division. The winner will meet either Spring Creek’s Zackary Rockwell (9-2) or Pahrump’s Nick Nelson (8-3) in the semifinals. On the other side from the northern division are South Tahoe’s James Sorensen (8-4) and Lowry’s Eric Brooks (11-0).
For Goings and Workman, though, sending Overlie out on top is a goal.
“I’ve wrestled for Overlie for a long time,” Workman said. “If this is his last year, I definitely want to send him out on top.”