They are the future of wrestling.
That future, however, is a bit bleak as the Churchill County Middle School wrestling team is low on numbers.
Coach Bill Bursill, however, is trying to recruit more grapplers to the mat. Wrestlers as young as fifth-grade can compete with the middle school program, and Bursill has tried numerous attempts to bolster the program’s numbers.
“I have no idea,” Bursill said as to the low numbers. “We had a large eighth-grade class (last year), and we have lost some kids to basketball. We didn’t get a lot of kids in to fill those spots.”
The catch, though, is the fifth and sixth graders will wrestle up in the seventh-grade division, as there is no younger division for middle school wrestling. Despite taking on older talent, Bursill said a number of his current wrestlers have been near perfect during their careers at the middle school.
Mason Smith (95 pounds) and Talon Amezquita (90) are both undefeated this season and are prepared to win their third Tah-Neva title in March. In addition to Smith and Amezquita, Mark Moyle won his first Tah-Neva championship last season.
The club also boasts returners Blane and Leo Aicher and Tyler Marsh. The necomers feature Dalton Boice, Sage Christian, Tanner Stritenberger, Michael Smiraglica and fifth-grader Wyatt Hatch.
The Tah-Neva — a pseudo state event — is the final middle school tournament of the season and will be held at Churchill County High School. Last year, the Wave placed third at the Tah-Neva tournament, which features most middle schools west of Battle Mountain.
“I like the individuality of it,” Bursill said. “It’s you and your opponent.”
The Wave is gearing up for the tournament season and currently boasts 11 grapplers on the squad. Bursill’s recruiting tactics include announcements during P.E. and word of mouth.
Bursill, though, said he also plans to create a new youth wrestling club, which would run in the offseason after previous club teams folded.
“I think we are looking at another branch of the Greenwave or something else where we can have more time with the kids,” Bursill said.
Although the club team is another option, Bursill said there is still time for wrestlers to come out for this year’s team.
The Wave are about to begin the tournament portion of their schedule as the season enters the home stretch. Interested athletes can visit Bursill and the team in wrestling room in the middle school’s gymnasium.