Wave grapplers gear for another state run
With one of the smallest lineups in the state tournament last February, the Greenwave wrestling team was four points away from winning its second consecutive championship, finishing second to Spring Creek.
Fallon placed seven, including two champions, in that season-ending tournament. Four medalists return as the Greenwave opens a new chapter this weekend with the annual Earl Wilkens Memorial Tournament in Fallon.
“Returning four state placers is going to help us out a ton,” third-year coach Trevor de Braga said. “We will need help from the rest of the Greenwave but we have a great shot to make a run at the title. We have some new kids in the room that have the potential to be top placers at state and that is what we need.”
Junior Sean McCormick (170) won his second title last year while brother Tommy McCormick (145), a sophomore, took second last year. Junior Ben Dooley (285) also finished second and senior Mason Smith (126) returns after taking third.
“This year we really need to count on our returning state placers,” de Braga said. “Sean works hard and the kids want to be successful like Sean has. Sean leads by example and the kids feed off that. Ben, Tommy and Mason all have the top qualities to be leaders and really need to get our young team to where it needs to be.”
Also returning this year are junior William Card (145), senior Leo Aicher (152), senior Blane Aicher (160) and senior Mark Moyle (220). New to the team are freshmen Case Cornmesser and Josiah Rosario (113), freshman Wyatt Hatch (120), freshman Logan Dixon (132), freshman Julian Evans (145), junior Drew Kramer (152), sophomore Cameron Chambers (160), senior Marcel Poracky (182), senior Trent Thorn (195) and sophomore Ben Otuafi (285).
Fortunately for de Braga, that leaves only one weight class (103) empty after consistently forfeiting around four classes in each of the last two years. He plans on moving one down to 103 to give him Fallon’s first full lineup in recent memory.
“We need all the new kids and young kids to really buy into what myself and the coaches are doing with them,” said de Braga, who’s assisted by ex-Greenwave wrestling and college great Dan Shaw and Matt McVay, who wrestled at the U.S. Naval Academy. “Aggressiveness is big. Being aggressive on our feet is huge. We have to finish moves and chain wrestle.”
Like last year, de Braga and his staff built a challenging schedule, which begins today with the Wilkens Tournament. Fallon travels out of state twice this season (Rollie Lane, Idaho, and Morro Bay, Calif.) and will compete in Las Vegas next week followed by the Reno Tournament of Champions, Elko duals and Sierra Nevada Classic to end December. After the Idaho tournament to ring in the new year, Fallon heads to Spring Creek, Morro Bay and then league duals followed by regional and state.
The goal with the tough schedule is to gain experience and strengthen the mentality heading into the postseason.
“The schedule is very tough and I love it,” de Braga said. “As a team, it really shows the kids where they stand. The different styles from the out-of-state kids really helps us in being able to adapt to the differences in wrestling. We take some lumps and bruises but I believe that makes the boys tougher. And we have kids in the team who win or place at these tough tournaments, which is phenomenal.”
Sean McCormick enjoys the strong schedule and is looking forward to it helping prepare the team for the postseason.
“This year does feel like it’s a very similar schedule, if not tougher. It’s nice,” he said. “It definitely prepares us for the state (tournament), wrestling all of these kids from the West Coast. It’s almost like the tournaments get easier at the end. I do enjoy going to these tough tournaments.”
De Braga’s also excited about his coaching staff because they get down in the trenches with the team, work on technique and provide stiff competition in practice.
“What’s great about our staff is we are young,” de Braga said. “We wrestle with the boys and really get a feel for what the kids need improvement on. It’s easy to see when a kid is doing something wrong when it comes to technique, but being able to wrestle the kids allows us to feel weak points when they’re doing a move.”