McCormick wins Sierra Nevada Classic, Dooley takes second
RENO — For the first time in nine years, Fallon crowned a champion at the Sierra Nevada Classic.
Junior Sean McCormick won the 160-pound division of the annual wrestling tournament at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Center, becoming the first Greenwave to accomplish the feat since Trent de Braga in 2008. Teammate Ben Dooley finished second in the 285 division, giving Fallon two medalists at one of the toughest tournaments on the West Coast.
“I do believe confidence was the ultimate factor here, going in and knowing I can win every match,” said McCormick, who won last week’s Douglas tournament and took third to become an All-American at the Reno Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. “You’ve got to believe in yourself and make those shots and know you can take them down. Hopefully, I can stay undefeated in Nevada and not have a problem at regional and state.”
McCormick never trailed in the championship against Thurston’s Austin Watson after opening the tournament with three pins in his first four matches. McCormick scored pins over Palma’s Tyler Houck, Shasta’s Mateo Redfern and Cardinal Newman’s Casey Frazier and defeated Benecia’s Justin Gomez by major decision, 11-2. McCormick took down Temescal Canyon’s Jesse Pacheco, 7-3, in the semifinal round.
“He was great on his feet, tough on top and was able to capture the SNC championship,” Fallon coach Trevor de Braga said. “Sean is at the top of his game and he has the bar raised high for winning these next six weekends.”
Dooley’s momentum while trying to take down Modesto Christian’s Ryan Higginbotham quickly turned against him late in the first period. The Californian wrestler pinned Dooley at the 1-minute, 21-second mark.
“I feel Ben was a little hesitant going into the match because of nerves but Ben shot a beautiful shot and just kind of fell on the kid high, and the kid flipped Ben over the top,” de Braga said of Dooley, who was the No. 5 seed. “It’s the nature of the sport and shows that one split-second move is all it takes to win a match. I’m proud of Ben and his progress this year. I’m excited to see what these next few weeks bring.”
Dooley pinned two of his first three opponents to begin the classic. Dooley pinned Pershing County’s Axel Gonzalez with 36 seconds left in the first period and then scored a major decision (11-0) over Brian Jenkins of Thurston. Dooley pinned Mountain View’s David Herring in the third period of the quarterfinal round and then decisioned Corning’s Griffin Dalske in the semis.
Mason Smith (120) fell one win short of placing after finishing 4-2. Smith opened with a pin over Marina’s John Finney before dropping a major decision (19-11) to Reno’s Eric Lopez. Smith pinned three consecutive opponents in the consolation before dropping an 8-1 decision to Villa Park’s Cameron Sorrell in the fifth round.
“Mason wrestled awesome this weekend. He lost a few close matches but he’s right there with the top kids,” de Braga said. “A few wrong moves is all that cost Mason but we can polish those. Mason was a match or two from being on the podium and I feel he’s getting better and better each week and wants to place/win at these next few tournaments.”
Tommy McCormick (138) dropped a tough 7-4 decision to Lowry’s Bryan Day after pinning Etna’s Reno Davis in his first bout. McCormick scored back-to-back pins before losing to Pershing County’s Jayce Leyva, 10-6, in the consolation’s third round.
Marcel Poracky (160) won his first three bouts before dropping the final two. Poracky, who won last week’s Douglas tournament, pinned Gregori’s Lakaria Benjamin and Corning’s Tristen Bailey in the championship bracket but was pinned with 13 seconds left in the match against Madera South’s Augustine Garcia to fall into the consolation bracket. Culver’s Jerron Rhen won by major decision, 9-0, to eliminate Poracky.
“Marcel was nails his first 3 matches of SNC,” de Braga said. “He looked great and it’s nice seeing him get better and better each weekend as well. Marcel is a kid I’m looking forward to as well for these next few weeks because he is progressing awesome on the mat.”
Case Cornmesser (113) finished 2-2 after dropping his first bout. Cornmesser pinned Granite Bay’s Devin McDermont and Archbishop Mitty’s Ryan Smith before falling to Virgin Valley’s Austin Workman in the consolation’s third round.
Leo Aicher (152) won his first match, a second-period pin over McQueen’s Noah Lewis, before dropping his next two to finish 1-2. Sione Otuafi (285) also finished 1-2 after taking down Virgin Valley’s Wyatt Hillious in his first bout.
Josiah Rosario (113), Wyatt Hatch (120), Drew Kramer (145) and Blane Aicher (152) lost their only two matches.