Zachary Singer woke up Saturday with a fresh new outlook on his prospects at the Division I Northern Region Wrestling Championships in Reno.
Coming off a frustrating second-round loss on Friday, however, the Douglas High School junior returned to the mat with a vengeance and fought his way to third-place in the 182-pound weight class at Reno High School. In the process, Singer earned a return trip to the NIAA State Championships, which will be held Saturday at the Primm Valley Resort’s Star of the Desert Arena in Primm (45 miles south of Las Vegas).
Despite having spent the better part of two weeks nursing a sore back, Singer bounced back to earn his second state tournament trip. He placed second at the region tournament as a freshman 182-pounder in 2012. This time, he went 4-1 during the weekend, with all four wins coming by fall in the first round. He pinned three straight opponents on Saturday to sweep through the consolation bracket.
“I was feeling really nervous,” Singer said. “That (Saturday) morning I was having serious doubts about whether I was going to make it or not, just because of how I performed on Friday. And then I decided to get my mind in the right spot and just get going with it.”
Singer opened impressively on Friday when he pinned Galena’s Talor Alt in 59 seconds. In the second round, however, he dropped an 8-3 decision against Reno’s Bryce Cartlidge.
“I was nervous to do any moves really fast just because I didn’t want to throw it out or anything like that,” Singer said of his back. “But then, the second day, I just went as hard as I could.”
He came out strong from the start on Saturday when he pinned Juan Cruz of North Valleys in 1:45. Then he made quick work of Jake Sylvester of Spanish Springs, the High Desert League’s No. 1 seed, winning by fall in 51 seconds. Finally, Singer pinned Reed’s Roberto Landa in 1:15 in the third-place match.
“The longer I went, I started feeling more comfortable,” he said.
Douglas coach David Singer pointed out the four pins were the most by any wrestler in the tournament.
As a team, Douglas finished 10th with 33 points. Spanish Springs won its fifth North title in six years, this time by a 186-167 margin over Carson.
Ian Kendrick, the Sierra League’s No. 1 seed in the heavyweight class, went 1-2. He pinned Corey Jasper of Carson in 2:51 to put him one match away from the consolation final, where he was pinned in 1:22 by Reed’s Damon Gebhardt. Kendrick narrowly missed qualifying for state last year when he placed fourth in the 220-pound weight class.
Freshman 195-pounder Ryland DeSomber went 1-2, one match short of wrestling for third- and fourth-place. DeSomber was pinned in his opener by Connor Stipe of McQueen, the eventual third-place finisher. DeSomber pinned Galena’s Marcus Morales in 55 seconds before losing to Adam Jaime of Damonte Ranch 6-2.
Senior 132-pounder Parker Biehn went 1-2. He lost his opener to eventual runner-up Max McReynolds of Bishop Manogue, but came back to take an 8-6 decision from Garrett McDermott of Carson.
Senior 160-pounder Garret Seward lost to McQueen’s Bryan Ruiz, then came back in the consolation bracket to pin McQueen’s Hayden Morley before being eliminated by Elijah Rogers of Galena to finish the tournament with a 1-2 record.
Freshman 106-pounder Kindel Isham went 1-2, his win coming by a third-round pin of Gabby Arevalo from North Valleys.
“Kindel fought really, really hard,” coach Singer said. “He weighs in at 95 pounds so he gives away at least 10 pounds every time he goes out on the mat. I think he’s going to be a quiet surprise for Douglas in the future.”
With a lineup that includes seven freshmen, coach Singer sees a bright future ahead for the Douglas program.
“I think we’re going to be pretty tough next year,” coach Singer said. “We have three eighth graders who have been working out pretty good.”
Another highlight for the Tigers came when they were presented with the Northern Nevada Wrestling Officials Association’s Division I Northern Region Sportsmanship Award.
“The officials vote on that award, so it means a lot,” coach Singer said.
Note: Former Douglas standout Sullivan Cauley, who now wrestles for Reno, won the 195-pound regional title for the second year in a row by edging Brik Chesley of Spanish Springs. This time, Cauley won by a 10-8 decision. Last year, Cauley defeated Chesley by a 6-4 score.