Northern 4A zone wrestling tournament
103 pounds: Elko sophomore Forrest Bogue (33-3 this season) is the man to beat, with Galena junior Michael Crooks 43-5 and a 4.0 student) standing next in line. The news here is Reno soph Suzanne Kivi (22-8), who is trying to become the first female wrestler to qualify for Nevada’s state tournament. Kivi will have to earn her berth from a group of contenders that includes Wooster’s Drake Olsen and Carson freshman Sergio Calvillo.
112: Reno junior Tommy Williams (44-6) was unbeaten in conference and the zone runner-up at 103 pounds in 1999. Two of his losses came in the first week of the season when he was at 119 pounds. Expect to see Fallon senior Robert Savon, a champion at Tonopah’s High Desert Classic, Lowry freshman Cody Louk, Galena soph Justin Ellmaker (30-17) and Elko soph Chris Hunton in the medal hunt.
119: South Tahoe’s Cavin Ross, a state tournament qualifier last year, was unbeaten in conference and draws the No. 1 seed. Hug senior Jeremy Johnson, the zone 114-pound runner-up in 1999, is another top contender. Douglas junior Romaine Smokey, who has returned to wrestling after a one-year hiatus, is 23-3 though he missed three weeks in January with strained back muscles. Keep an eye on Fallon’s Kevin Thomas and Elko’s Dane Ashley.
125: The top two seeds here both come in with impressive credentials. Reno junior Josh Kivi (34-3) is a defending state champion and a state runner-up in 1998. Jeremy Lenz of Wooster was last year’s zone champion at 114 pounds. Seth Green of Hug is another threat, as is Adrian Hicks of Fallon, and watch out for Carson freshman Chris Kotter.
130: This might be the strongest division in the tournament. Carson junior Justin Sarnowski (36-9) is the defending champion here, but Fallon’s Daniel Shaw is the defending state champ and Wooster’s J.W. Lazzari placed third at state last year at 125 pounds. Nor can you count out Galena senior B.J. Lundeen (25-7), a zone runner-up at 125 pounds last year. Kyle Drobay of Lowry is another tough customer in this bracket and McQueen sophomore Doug Barker took Sarnowski to overtime before losing 6-4 last month.
135: This division is a toss-up between Carson senior Justin Shine (32-10), No. 1 seeded Pat Foley of Reno, Elko junior Jason Zander and Wooster freshman Zach Lazzari. Fallon’s John Sheldon is capable of causing havoc and Douglas soph D’Art Johnson has potential.
140: This is another toss-up. Carson junior Doug Brooks beat Wooster’s George Smith, Smith beat Galena’s Matt Reed, and Reed beat Brooks. McQueen’s T.J. Dean is a force to reckon with. Reed (45-4, including an ironman championship at the Ponderosa tournament) comes in as the No. 1 seed. Brooks placed fourth in this class at zone in 1999.
145: Elko’s Shawn Reilly and Galena’s Damian Rivadeneyra are blue chip juniors. Reilly is 34-2 this season, including two wins over highly touted Buster Segura of Lowry. Rivadeneyra (29-7) placed third at zone and fourth at state (135 pounds) in 1999. Fallon sophomore Glenn Shaw has beaten Rivadeneyra. Keep an eye on Wooster senior Justin Kunkel, Carson’s Justin LaPorte, Pete Barnato of Sparks and David Tingle of Douglas.
152: Lowry’s Segura is one of the tournament’s big names. He was 52-0 as a junior last season before losing in the zone finals and again in the state finals. Galena junior Chris Fritz (40-11) is looking to challenge, as are Anthony Millsap of Reed (a transfer from Lowry) and Travis Longobardo of Sparks, who qualified for state last year as a freshman. Watch out for Carson junior Jaxson Luhrs and Douglas senior Duston Maynes.
160: Another highly competitive weight class. Hug’s Brendan Boise is quite a story. Third at zone as a 191-pounder last year, Boise has dropped two weights for his senior season and figures to be the top seed. Branden Lamborn, third at zone last year (152 pounds), is waiting for his shot at the gold. Drew Hall of Douglas, Dana Lopez of Sparks and David Stubbs of Fallon are threats. Wooster junior Steve Schwarzer only won three conference matches, but five of his losses were decided by one or two points. Galena senior Seth Puryear (12-8) has battled illness and injuries this season, but is a veteran who can never be counted out.
171: All eyes are on McQueen junior Ryan Bader here. Bader was a zone champion at 160 pounds last year and is 40-3 so far this season, including a gold medal at the 92-team Sierra Nevada Classic in December. Elko senior Craig Cunningham, a zone runner-up at 171 pounds in 1999, is 28-5 this season. Ty Crites of Sparks lost only once during the conference season. Watch out for Galena senior Ricky Wesley and John Hillenbrand of Douglas.
189: This division is expected to boil down to a battle between veteran seniors: Jules LaPrairie (42-1) of Reno and Jesse Jones (29-4) of Galena. LaPrairie was 48-2 and won the zone 171-pound title last year, only to falter with the flu a week later at state. Jones placed fifth at zone last year, but moved up to take third at state. LaPrairie was a 6-5 victor over Jones in their conference meeting. Nathan Bennett of Douglas and Jeremy Backman of Sparks look to contend here, along with Lowry’s Ian Belingheri (who may move up to 215 pounds) and McQueen junior Jason Lemmons. Carson soph Dan Dunbar is improved.
215: This shapes up as a strong and wide open weight class. Elko senior Dennis Augare is expected to draw the No. 1 seed, followed by Wooster freshman Chad Espinoza. Two other seniors, Dan Knox (25-8) of Galena and James Sande of Reno, are tough competitors. So is Carson senior Ben Johnson, who was 8-0 in conference. Johnson was the zone 189-pound runner-up for Douglas last year. Carl Wymer of Douglas only lost to Augare by one point last weekend.
275: The top seed is Galena senior Pat Nohr, who is 34-4 with two of those losses coming at the Sierra Nevada Classic. Nohr placed second at zone and fourth at state last year. Bryan Light of Lowry, who dropped a 2-0 decision to Nohr in their regular season meeting, looks like the No. 2 seed. Randy Deming of Elko, Erik Tamayo of Reed and Wooster’s George Bergin figure to contend. Don’t count out Carson senior Jeff Scanlan.
(Assistant tournament director and Wrestling USA Magazine Nevada State Editor Michael Holen contributed to this story.)