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Lowry outlasts Elko to win annual Sparks Wrestling Invitational
by Dan Eckles
Jan 04, 2014 | 1379 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs' Reese Massett (top) works for position against an Elko opponent during his 126-pound match at the Sparks Invitational Saturday afternoon.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs' Reese Massett (top) works for position against an Elko opponent during his 126-pound match at the Sparks Invitational Saturday afternoon.
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A long two days of wrestling wrapped up Saturday afternoon when coaches, athletes and volunteers rolled up the mats and cleaned up the Sparks High gym.

DI-A North rivals Lowry and Elko battled to the final match of the tournament before Lowry learned it would hoist the championship trophy of the annual James McCollum Sparks Wrestling Invitational.

Lowry racked up 173.5 points to just best rival Elko and its 172.5 total. Both teams had a weight class winner, two runners-up, three third-place finishers and a fourth-place wrestler.

Third-place Fallon (151 points) and sixth-place Douglas (133.5 points) both had three wrestlers win weight class crowns, to tie for the best mark in that category.

"This is the best tournament we've run in the four years I've been here at Sparks," Railroaders coach Ric Fehr said. "It's been the best attended and we got a lot of good local competition. Teams are sending good wrestlers. It's the most competitive event we've had."

In addition to host Sparks, the other two Sparks-area schools, Spanish Springs and Reed, also sent teams to participate at SHS over the two-day tourney.

DI North power Spanish Springs, which sent its top wrestlers to a Chico, Calif. tournament, also sent a squad of wrestlers to Sparks for the weekend tourney. The Cougars' group wound up eighth in the final team standings with 105 points.

Reed finished 11th overall with 67 points and Sparks was 18th, out of 20 total teams competing, garnering 34 points. The Railroaders were just a point out of a two-way tie for 16th place between Wooster and Rite of Passage, who concluded their tourney trip with 35 points.

"Our whole group did pretty well," Fehr said, alluding to his young nine-member Sparks team. "Six of our nine wrestlers are freshmen and sophomores. We're just trying to get them as much wrestling time as we can. Hopefully, we'll see the kids blossom over the next year."

Only two sparks-area athletes reached the finals of their respective weight classes. In the 106-pound competition, Spanish Springs' Maleik Lariiere fell in the finals to South Tahoe's Addison Day, who won thanks to a first-round pin.

At 285s, Sparks senior David Valentine was locked in a tight championship match with ROP's Sam Taunaholo. Unfortunately for Valentine, one wrong move left him on his back and Taunaholo picked up the triumph with a second-round pin.

"David wrestled really well this weekend," Fehr said. "It's probably the best he's wrestled. His potential is showing up. His experience and savvy are all coming around. This weekend should help his confidence and give him something to build off of."

Local schools did see a handful of other athletes place. That list included: Reed's Lavelle McDaniel (113, 5th), Spanish Springs' Dustin Congdon (120, 3rd), Reece Massett (126, 5th) and Scott Giordano (138, 4th), Sparks' Tymon Dozier (145, 6th) and Reed's Travis Moore (152, 4th) and Tim Eubanks (160, 6th).
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