Zachary Singer isn’t setting any specific goals for the NIAA State Wrestling Championships on Saturday. The Douglas High School junior 182- pounder simply wants to go as hard as he can and let the chips fall where they may.
Singer is returning for his second appearance in three years at the state tournament, which is being held at the Primm Valley Resort’s Star of the Desert Arena in Primm (45 miles south of Las Vegas).
Coming back from a sore back he sustained after being thrown to the mat on Feb. 1 at the Yerington dual team tournament, Singer won four of five matches last weekend to place third at the Northern Region Tournament in Reno. All four of his wins came by pin.
Now, Singer is looking forward to taking his best shot against the best in the state.
“I’m feeling pretty good now,” he said. “I’m just going to wrestle as hard as I can through the whole week and make sure I’m right for state.”
Singer opens with a pigtail match against Liberty sophomore Jeremy Cedillo, with the winner moving on to face Sunset Region champion Elvin Cruz, a senior from Shadow Ridge. Cruz qualified for state last year as a 170-pounder.
One wrestler to watch in this bracket is Carson’s Brady Rivera, who defeated Rory Anderson of Damonte Ranch 6-4 in double overtime to capture the Northern Region title. Rivera, a junior, is 40-9 this season and looking to improve on his fourth-place finish in the 182-pound weight class at last year’s state tournament.
Anderson is seeded on the same side of the bracket with Singer. The two are familiar rivals, and Singer has a bit of motivation since he was eliminated from last year’s region tournament by an 8-6 decision to Anderson (Singer was leading with less than a minute to go).
The bracket’s other No. 1 seed is Sunrise Region champion Roosevelt Smith, the Sunrise Region champion from Canyon Springs who boasts a 39-3 season record.
Singer experienced misfortune as a sophomore 195-pounder last season when he sustained a hip injury at the season-opening Capital Duals and didn’t return to action until mid-January
Singer qualified for state as a freshman in 2011-12, when he posted 17 victories (14 by pin) and advanced to the region tournament’s 182-pound championship match, where he lost to Carson’s Nico Garcia.
No doubt, Singer would like to have another opportunity to wrestle in the spotlight of a championship match. Perhaps next year as a senior? Then again, don’t count out the possibility of it happening on Saturday.
“That would be nice, but it’s going to take a lot of work to get there,” Singer said.