One of the oldest high school wrestling tournaments in Northern Nevada is returning Saturday when Douglas High School hosts the Carson Valley Lions Club Invitational.
A 16-team field has been lined up for the tournament, which was introduced by then-coach Mike Leck and sponsored by the Carson Valley Lions Club in 1976. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. and the finals are tentatively set for 5 p.m.
The tournament returns from hiatus after it was canceled last year when a late schedule conflict forced the Division III and IV participants to withdraw. The tournament has also been canceled twice in the past decade due to severe storm conditions.
All systems are go for Saturday, and the Tigers are looking forward to competing at home after traveling through the month of December.
“I’m excited to have our tournament come back,” Douglas coach David Singer said. “It’s going to be nice not having to jump on a bus at 5 in the morning.”
Among the teams will be Wooster, Bishop Manogue, Fernley, Rite of Passage, South Tahoe, Reed, Sparks, Hug, Silver Stage, Incline and Douglas.
Douglas seniors Ian Kendrick, Garret Seward and Chance Thoene are looking forward to wrestling before hometown fans. A fourth senior, Seth Trivitt, is out after sustaining a season-ending ankle injury.
“I’m excited; we’re going to have some good support out here,” said Thoene, a gold medal winner in his 220-pound weight class last Saturday at the James McCollum Memorial Invitational in Sparks. “We have a lot better team than last year. I think we’ve stepped up our game.”
Thoene combined with 195-pounder Jason Trenkle and 182-pounder Zachary Singer to give Douglas three individual champions at the Sparks tournament.
“I’m looking forward to doing well at home because you always want to protect your turf,” Kendrick said. “I think this team has a lot of potential. I know we have a lot of freshmen, but if they stick with it, this team will do very well.”
Seward, who wrestled as a 152-pounder through December, is moving up to the 160-pound division for the first time. Being able to add weight came as a Christmas bonus, so to speak, since he didn’t have to worry about dieting over the holiday break.
“I hope to have a good home meet and home tournament,” the second-year wrestler said. “Being at home is fun for me, and kind of puts on that added pressure to win. You never want to lose at home in front of your friends and family.”
McQueen’s entry in the tournament could set the stage for a featured matchup in the 220-pound bracket between the Lancers’ Josh Ramos and Thoene. Ramos won his weight class at the Sierra Nevada Classic two weeks ago and previously placed third at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Thoene and Ramos were both state tournament qualifiers last year — Thoene as a heavyweight and Ramos as a 195-pounder. “He’s an All-American,” Thoene said, referring to an honor Ramos received for his top-three finish at the prestigious Reno TOC. “I think he and I will have a pretty good match. I think it will come to the two of us at 220s (at the Northern Division I Regional Tournament).”
Interestingly enough, Thoene competed at 260 pounds last year. He now weighs in at 191.
“Now, I’ve got to get bigger again, so I’m off that (diet) and I’m back on like protein shakes and weight gainers,” he said. “I’m pretty light so I want to get bigger before state.”
The 182-pound weight class potentially features Fernley’s Erik Wilson, a second-place finish of their win-loss records at the Reno TOC and the Tigers’ Singer.
As far as match results are concerned, Kendrick and Seward both said they don’t keep track. They simply want to take it one match at a time.
“Me personally, I don’t keep track of my records,” Kendrick said. “I don’t look back on my wins and losses, I just focus on the next match that is ahead of me.”