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Longtime friends win back-to-back state championships together
by Aaron Retherford
Feb 20, 2012 | 1571 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Contributed photo - Reed junior Spencer Empey (left) and senior Broc Westlake (right) won back-to-back wrestling state championships in their respective weight classes Saturday in Las Vegas.
Contributed photo - Reed junior Spencer Empey (left) and senior Broc Westlake (right) won back-to-back wrestling state championships in their respective weight classes Saturday in Las Vegas.
Reed senior Broc Westlake and junior Spencer Empey have been wrestling side by side since they were kids and have grown into good friends. So it’s only fitting the Raiders duo went out on top in their last season on the mats together.

While the Reed girls basketball team was winning back-to-back regional championships Saturday, at the same time, Westlake and Empey were busy completing their own back-to-back achievements.

Westlake was on a collision course with the same foe he faced when he won last year’s 189-pound state championship by one point.

Shadow Ridge’s Brandon Fisher had lost one match all year, just like last winter, when Fisher lost a second match in the state final at Spanish Springs.

This season at 195 pounds, Fisher racked up a colossal 71-1 record on his way to the state championship match. He picked up his 45th pin of the year 35 seconds into his quarterfinal match at state. He then dominated to a 20-2 tech fall win in the semifinals.

But once again, Westlake had his number, cruising to a 7-4 victory in the final to finish the season at 36-5.

“There was a lot more pressure because you win as a junior, so you want to make sure you win as a senior, too,” Westlake said. “It’s been a fun year, and I’m just glad it got to end that way in my senior year.”

Empey had his turn at earning his second straight state championship and made it look easy. The junior 220-pounder had his added pressure due to the fact he hasn’t lost a match in the past two seasons.

Empey recorded three straight pins at state to win the crown and finish the year at 45-0, a year after going 50-0.

“That adds a little pressure, more mentally than physically,” Empey said of being undefeated. “I know I can win every match. I just have to go out there and wrestle my hardest.”

Empey said he will keep training for the upcoming national tournaments either in Virginia or Pennsylvania. Then he will come back next year and try to run the table again to a third straight state championship.

The two wins helped the Raiders take sixth place with 55 points. Reed was the only school from Northern Nevada to win two weight classes.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of them. It truly is amazing,” Reed wrestling coach Dan Barraza said. “Spencer pinned his way through the tournament. It was a pretty dominant tournament for him. Last year, he didn’t get any pins at state, and this year he stepped it up a notch. That was fantastic. Another undefeated season, that’s quite an accomplishment. I think he’s ranked 11th in the country now, so that’s pretty cool.

“With Broc, it’s been an amazing couple years coaching him. The kid he wrestled in the finals was 71-1. He lost one match all year and had 40-some-odd pins. Broc went out there, despite beating him in the finals last year, he was the underdog again. I had faith in him the whole time. He thrives in those big matches. He went out and did what he needed to do and dominated the match. Everything was his. It was a great feeling. I’m so proud that he finished up his high school career the way he should have.

“Two two-timers. That’s pretty amazing. They’re very special kids. They work really hard, and they’re great workout partners. They’ve been working out together since they were little kids. They pretty much did it together, and it paid off for them.”

Since he was 8, Empey has wrestled with Westlake. Empey was happy to see his good friend’s hand raised at the end of his final match.

“It was great to see because everyone knew he had a tough match. He went out there and wrestled great, finished his high school career,” Empey said.

Westlake shared similar sentiments, especially since both wrestlers started the season late due to playing on a state championship runner-up team together. That delayed their conditioning for wrestling and added to the extra pressure both grapplers felt this season.

“It’s just been a great experience because he’s been my buddy ever since we were little,” Westlake said. “Just being able to win it and see our success, it’s been real fun.”
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