The Cougars finished the regional tournament with a team score of 187, 21 points ahead of second-place Carson. Reed finished sixth in the tournament with a score of 127, 10 points behind Damonte Ranch and 13.5 points behind Reno for fourth place.
At Sparks High, the Railroaders hosted the DI-A North tournament for the first time in 12 years and finished seventh, sending a pair of wrestlers to next weekend’s state tournament.
The DI and DI-A state tournaments will both be held next Saturday in Primm.
Spanish Springs Cougars
The Cougs sent six wrestlers to the finals Saturday and advanced eight wrestlers into next weekend’s state tournament.
“I’m proud of the kids, happy for the kids,” Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said. “Obviously our journey doesn’t stop here. We have one more week to go and concentrate on.”
Although six Cougars advanced to the title match of their weight class, Chase Hauder (heavyweight) was the only Cougar to stand atop the podium during the medal ceremony. Even then however, the runner-up was a Cougar. Hauder pinned his teammate Conner Hendricks for the North title.
Imelli admitted coaching both players in the title round was unique.
“I’m not going to lie. It’s nice because it says you have the two best guys at that weight class but as far as the coaching aspect, I usually tell the kids I’m not going to coach. You guys wrestle it out and we’ve had that mentality for awhile,” Imelli said. “They can earn it. They’ve been in the room and they know each other so they can wrestle it out. It’s a little different but hey it’s a good problem to have.”
Joei Jones (126 points) suffered a takedown with 20 seconds left in the first overtime to fall in the title match on points, 3-1. Freshman Cole Drescher fell on points, 10-0 in the 138-pound final. Brik Chesley fell to Carson’s Sullivan Cauley 10-8, in the 195-pound final. And Anthony Walsh dropped the 220-pound final to McQueen’s Josh Ramos, who improved to 43-1 this season.
“We wrestled tough guys,” Imelli said. “You know, you put yourself in an opportunity to be there. We had six kids that put themselves in that opportunity, so I can’t be frustrated with that.”
Tyler Poalillo will join Jones in the 126-pound tournament next weekend after finishing third, rounding out the group of Cougars to advance.
Two Raiders advanced to the title matches in their respective classes and both stood atop the podium.
Freshman Israel Casarez (120) was the first Raider to win a North title, edging Damonte Ranch’s Michael Solferino, 4-3, with a takedown (two points) with 20 seconds remaining in the final round.
“(Solferino) is one of the better kids here. He was in the regional finals last year and placed third at state so he’s a really talented kid. To contest with him and then actually beat him (is impressive),” first-year Reed wrestling coach Mike Klapp said. “Honestly, when we do our runs every day, (Casarez) is the first kid back. That conditioning might have helped. I don’t know.”
Four matches later, junior Jake Otuafi bested one of his rivals, Carson’s Brady O’Keefe with a 4-1 decision. Otuafi beat O’Keefe in a tournament earlier this year but fell to the Senator in a dual.
“I can’t even explain how amazing this feels right now,” Otuafi said. “I’m so excited.”
Senior Calvin Cox (220) will make a return to trip to Vegas – played on the offensive and defensive line for the Reed football team that played in the state title game in Vegas – after placing third on Saturday.
In the 3rd/4th place match, the winner goes to state while the loser is an alternate, Cox pinned Carson’s Sheldon Miller in 56 seconds.
“He wrestled really well in the finals in the consolation (round),” Klapp said. “He got beat by a tough kid from Spanish Springs (Walsh) and I’m proud of him. I know he’s excited to be heading down there.”
Entering only six wrestlers into the tournament, Sparks advanced seniors Tymon Dozier (152) and David Valentine (heavyweight) to the title match before both fell there.
Hugo Tejada (182) and Parker Kivett (126) both finished fifth in their weight classes and are alternates for next weekend’s state tournament.
“I think as whole, this is probably the best we have done,” Sparks wrestling coach Ric Fehr said of his tenure as the SHS coach.
Going into the weekend, Fehr said he saw the weekend as an opportunity to help change the perception of Sparks wrestling. With two runner-up finishers, and two alternates, he thinks his group did that.
“As far as competition wise, I really believe we did (change perception) …,” Fehr said. “David wrestled quite well. There weren’t any close matches for him (before the title match).”
Dozier weighed in light enough to wrestle in the 145-pound tournament but chose to wrestle with the 152s, hoping for a better matchup against Lowry’s Brandon Okuma, who he lost to on an 8-5 decision in the title match.
“He’s able to compete at a top level in both weight classes, so I think that set a precedent as well,” Fehr said.
Lowry ran away with the DI-A North title, finishing with 277.5 points. Fallon (183 points) snuck past Spring Creek by two points for second.