All-Americans, strong SNC showing highlights 1st half of season
Running his team through the gauntlet this early in the season has become the norm for Trevor de Braga and his Greenwave wrestlers.
After completing a rigorous first half of the season, Fallon has already seen its trio reach the podium every week, including All-American honors for seniors Ben Dooley (285 pounds) and Sean McCormick (170 pounds), and silver medals for both as well as junior Tommy McCormick (160 pounds) in last week’s annual Sierra Nevada Classic.
Both seniors hadn’t lost until the Reno Tournament of Champions and Sierra Nevada Classic but Dooley and McCormick have separated themselves as not just the best in their division in the north, but they’re making the case for the best in the state. All three, though, are producing results that would rank them among the best in the region, too.
For Sean McCormick, the All-American honor was his second in a row, a first for Fallon. This year’s tournament, though, was tougher as the senior grappler won his first bout but lost the second and wrestled in the consolation for most of the two-day tournament before snagging the third-place win at the Reno Events Center.
“I knew it was going to be tough. I knew it was going to be a long road ahead of me,” McCormick said about the early loss. “I just needed to prove to myself that I could do it. It’s hard to do that through the consolation. It’s reassuring that I didn’t want to quit.
“Second time being an All American is amazing. I don’t know if it tops winning a state title but it’s close. It’s up there.”
McCormick, who graduates in five months and then heads to Idaho to continue his football career, has been a treat for de Braga, who began coaching the wrestling team when he was a freshman.
“Not many high school kids can say they’re All-American and to get two in your career is phenomenal for Sean,” de Braga said. “It really goes to show how hard work pays off. Sean is one of the most talented athletes I’ve been around and had the opportunity to coach. It is well deserved and I hope it gets him national attention for national rankings.”
Dooley continues to impress.
“There are very few heavyweights who weigh all of 285 and move like a 170 pounder,” de Braga said of Dooley. “It’s so much fun watching Ben move and wrestle, and coaches from opposing teams are in awe over him. Both Sean and Ben are going to play Division I football but I know they would have tremendous success at the Division I level in wrestling. I truly believe they credit wrestling for their success on the football field.”
After an injury in the 2016 state championship finals that saw Dooley finish second, the Boise State-bound football star has been on a roll. He won last year’s state final, was key to the football team winning state and is now an All-American.
“That was huge for me. I didn’t even place at this tournament last year and all I wanted to do was achieve All-American status,” Dooley said.
Last week’s SNC proved that Dooley and McCormick are two of the best in the region as they wrestled out-of-state opponents. McCormick lost in sudden death overtime, 3-1, to Del Oro’s Noah Blake, the state’s No.1 wrestler, while Dooley dropped a 4-2 decision in three rounds of overtime to Vista Del Lago’s Justin Ramos.
The younger McCormick has come on strong since the second half of last season when he rebounded to win both the regional and state titles. At the SNC, he wrestled the best in the Silver State and came up short with a second-period fall to Shadow Ridge’s Marc Williams.
“Tommy had a very good tournament beating some ranked state kid,” de Braga said. “Tommy is wrestling great and you see improvement each week. He is really dominating opponents on his feet and that’s what we really stress to the kids. If you can win on your feet, you will win 90 percent of your matches. The kid he wrestled from Vegas is a great wrestler, too, and Tommy was beating the kid on his feet. Tommy got caught in a tough spot and just came up short. I’m very pleased how Tommy is wrestling,”
But while the McCormicks and Dooley stand on the podium every weekend, the rest of the team has seen growth and improvement. Senior Drew Kramer, sophomores Wyatt Hatch, Josiah Rosario and Case Cornmesser, and freshman Lucas Prinz had improved performances at the SNC.
Fallon finished 14th out of 87 teams, including fourth best among Nevada schools behind Spring Creek, Shadow Ridge and Spanish Springs at the SNC.
“The rest of the team is getting a taste for these big tournaments, as well,” de Braga said. “They got to wrestle last weekend in the TOC and this week at the SNC. You’re going to take your lumps being a first-year wrestler or even being a freshman, but I believe they need to get a feel for the tough competition. The tournaments will definitely make you a better wrestler and help you adapt to the faster pace, and tougher kids.”
De Braga said he’s pleased with the team’s progress, which will be tested in two weeks against 3A competition with the annual Spring Creek tournament. The league duals and regional tournament are quickly approaching with state ending the year Feb. 8-9 in Winnemucca.
“We’re learning how to compete and there’s a lot of promise coming from their matches,” de Braga said. “Mat time is key and I know they will continue to get better and better each week. I’m excited to see how the season unfolds the next month.”