Wave wrestling competes against nation’s best
It’s billed as the toughest wrestling tournament in the country.
The Reno Tournament of Champions has been a mainstay in the region since 1996 when 32 of the best high school teams in the country competed for All-American status. Since then, the tournament has grown to include a day for collegiate competition and now a youth bracket.
The Greenwave competes in the two-day tournament, beginning today at the Reno Events Center, with the objective to gain experience from competing against the best and finish with as many as possible on the podium when the final curtain comes down. The top-three finishers earn All-American status and only two from Fallon have been able to claim the honor.
Wrestling begins today and Saturday at 9 a.m. and the high school session ticket price is $20 (Friday) and $25 (Saturday) for adults and $15 for students with ID, senior citizens and military, $10 for children under 12 and free for children under 5 for both days.
Dan Shaw placed in the top of his weight class almost two decades ago and Lyle Gardner won his division last decade. Many have come close, including Fallon coach Trevor de Braga’s younger brother, Trent, who took fourth.
The Greenwave, though, is in a position to advance its experienced core that is no stranger to stiff competition. Sean McCormick is a two-time reigning state champ while brother Tommy and Ben Dooley finished second in the state tournament last February. Newcomer Marcel Poracky has given Fallon a punch in the upper weights and third-place state finisher Mason Smith is back stronger in the middleweight division.
“It’s a high level of wrestling and now the kids know how much they have to turn on their game to compete and beat that elite competition,” Trevor de Braga said after last year’s RTOC.
It won’t be easy, even getting through the first day of the tournament. Trevor de Braga will be sending those who exit early to join the rest of the team at the Lovelock tournament on Saturday. But for the Greenwave, this tournament not only gives the team exposure to the best competition in the country, it will put them on the map with recruiters — if they’re not already.
Departed seniors Jack Swisher and Chase Hyde went deep in last year’s tournament as did Matt Goings, who didn’t return this winter. Of this year’s group, Sean McCormick finished 3-2 in last year’s RTOC and Dooley and Tommy McCormick each went 2-2. Smith, before he got hot at the end of the season, went winless in two tries.
For this weekend, it’s about finishing their moves that will propel Fallon to continue going deep in the tournament, getting closer to that podium and All-American honor. The intensity cannot let up at anytime. One-hundred percent effort is required in every bout against the best in the nation.
And right after Christmas, Fallon will go through another rigourous test with the Sierra Nevada Classic.
“The SNC is very tough,” de Braga said. “I think it has grown more and more over the years and I compare the competition right there with the Tournament of Champions, if not better.”
Come down to Reno this weekend to witness the best wrestling in the country. You may be treated with a Greenwave grappler accepting a top-three medal on Saturday.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.