Gardner wins TOC title
Appeal News Service
RENO – The wrestling accolades continue to pile up for Fallon’s Lyle Gardner.
The 18-year-old senior became the first wrestler in Churchill County High School history to win the Brute Reno Tournament of Champions Friday night at the Reno Events Center. Dan Shaw was the highest placed Greenwave wrestler before Gardner when he took third in 2000.
“It makes me feel pretty good. I’ve been to this tournament the last few times and only won a couple matches,” Gardner said.
The heavyweight pinned Jessie Gonzales of Eagle, Idaho, in the first round to capture his second tournament title of the season. Gardner won the Las Vegas tournament last week and was last year’s regional and state champ.
“The one thing about Lyle is he doesn’t expand his energy of emotion,” Greenwave coach Mitch Overlie said. “He doesn’t really get excited. He knows what he needs to do. It’s nothing flashy.”
Gardner and Gonzales battled for most of the first period before the Greenwave grappler recorded a takedown with 24 seconds left. Gardner then rolled Gonzales on his back and pinned him in front of the scorer’s bench with six seconds left.
“It was and he’s tough and strong,” Gardner said. “I was surprised to win. It’s a really tough tournament.”
Eason, Penn., won the 87-team tournament with 202.5 points, followed by Upper Perkiomen, Penn., (156.5), Poway, Calif., (154), Council Rock, Penn., (152.5) and Alamosa, Colo. (129).
Damonte Ranch led all nine Northern Nevada schools with a 24th-place finish at 79 points followed by Churchill in 29th with 73. Galena garnered 66 points for 37th, McQueen had 42.5 (61st) and Spring Creek tallied 35.5 (66th). Yerington finished 70th with 32.5 points.
“This is a great tournament. I love this facility,” Damonte Ranch coach B.J. Padden said. “It especially gets fans close to the mats. It also gets kids from this area good college exposure.”
Padden’s squad placed two wrestlers in the Top 8, the most for any Nevada team.
The Mustangs’ Trey Edmunds, though, lost the 152-pound title match by a 6-3 decision to Chris Hacker of El Reno, Okla.
Edmunds trailed 2-0 late in the first period before the junior wrestler shook off Hacker for a two-point reversal. Hacker, ranked sixth in the country by Amateur Wrestling News, escaped with 10 seconds left in the round. Two escapes and one takedown in the next two periods gave the Oklahoma wrestler the title.
Edmunds’ teammate, Jordan O’Neal, placed fourth in the 112 class after losing to David Klingsheim of Liberty, Calif., in the consolation finals.
“We’re excited where the team is this season,” Padden said. “We definitely have a ways to go for state. We’re very excited how the tournament went as a team and the exposure the state of Nevada gets.”
Galena’s Nick Williams won his consolation final match in the 215s by defeating Jordan Taghvai of Carlsbad, Calif. Yerington’s Stephen Skroch took fifth in the 189s and McQueen’s Karrington Armstrong ended 8th in the heavyweight.
“I felt the Nevada schools are well represented,” Padden added. “Not all the tough Nevada schools are here. It gives a stick to measure the top teams in the country.”
Next up for Northern Nevada wrestling is the Sierra Nevada Classic, which will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
“It helps us see people we normally don’t see and a higher level of wrestling,” Overlie said.