Wrestling: Tiger grapplers set for big run next year

When your program is going through a rebuilding year and you're still able to produce a regional champ, a state runner-up and three state qualifiers, you know you're in pretty good shape.

Douglas wrestling coach Lamont McCann fell just short of chomping at the bit when it comes to looking at next year.

"There's no question, I'm really looking forward to it," he said. "We should be one of the top teams in the north.

"There won't be any Damontes next year, where someone is overloaded. We should be really strong."

Douglas is coming off a year in which every starter heading into the year was brand-new to their weight class.

"We were really very satisfied with the team's performance," McCann said. "We were very young, but they pulled together and did some really good things. It was really a solid group of kids, just a pleasure to coach."

McCann pointed specifically to team wins at the Carson City Duals early in the year and the Sparks Invitational as highlights of the season.

"We took second at Alhambra and were in the mix at every tournament we went to," he said. "The younger guys gained a lot of valuable experience this year."

Douglas' strong middleweight lineup led the team throughout the season.

Nico Barker (130), CJ Wynar (135/145), Cody Spates (140) and Ryan Olsen (135/145) all made it through the league dual match season without a loss.

Wynar was perhaps the biggest surprise of all, winning the team's only regional title this year. Barker took regional runner-up honors.

Douglas also had a strong year in the 189-pound class (a class the Tigers have dominated over the past three years) with senior Tony Ferris taking second at state and third at regionals.

Freshman Dillon Spates (103 pounds) had a breakout season as well, earning a top-five ranking in the state late in the year.

Senior Javier Trujillo competed in his first year of wrestling, improving every week in the 160-pound class. By the end of the year, he'd won several medals at large tournaments.

Dillon Spates and his brother Cody, a sophomore, will be key to Douglas' strength next season.

The duo will be joined by juniors-to-be Wes Peterson (112) and Timmy Souza (119) and seniors to be Barker, Eddie Kollar (125), Justin Freeman (152) and Steve Anderson (215) to form one of the toughest returning groups in the Northern 4A.

The Spates brothers each won two individual titles this year, Barker won twice and Peterson won his class at the Sparks Invite.

Douglas will be looking to rebound from a struggle during the first round at regionals this year.

"We really had a strong group headed in, and we had some great seeds," McCann said. "But there were a lot of guys on the team that got stuck wrestling a defending state champ in the second round because some other schools shifted their weight classes around just before the tournament.

"Seeding was done based on league records, and these guys were getting thrown into a weight class without any previous record in it, so they would get a seed.

"That would pretty much place them up against the top seeds in the early rounds, and that happened to be our guys a lot of the time. We had seven No. 1 seeds heading in and we ran into that in a number of weight classes."

McCann said his group will get back to work soon with a full slate of offseason tournaments.

"We'll hit the West Coast Nationals and the Reno WOW Tournament," he said.

"We're going to be doing an Oklahoma team camp in Reno too, so it should be pretty fun. It'll be good experience."


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