FERNLEY — To no surprise, Fallon’s three horsemen took care of business.
But that was it.
Seniors Sean McCormick and Ben Dooley, and junior Tommy McCormick each won a title in Saturday’s 3A North Region wrestling tournament but Fallon failed to qualify anyone else for the state tournament. Underclassmen Lucas Prinz and Case Cornmesser finished fifth, and Wyatt Hatch was sixth. Only the top four advanced to this weekend’s state tournament in Winnemucca.
“We did have a young team. It was sad to see we couldn’t qualify more than three,” Sean McCormick said. “We had a few fifth placers. It’s tough for them. They worked really hard. I wish we could bring more than a few this week.”
The McCormicks and Dooley have been strong all season, competing in the Reno Tournament of Champions, placing in the top two of the Sierra Nevada Classic and winning many other tournaments, both in state and out of state. All three won state titles last year, a first for Dooley and the younger McCormick, while the older McCormick goes for his fourth state title. No Fallon wrestler has won four state titles.
“It has been tough. I’ve been looking forward to this day in the beginning of the season,” McCormick said about staying focused this season. “This has been my one goal this whole season. Everything I’ve been doing is to get to this point right now.
“Sometimes I do get emotional thinking about it not getting to wrestle again. It’s exciting to compete one last time and leave everything out there.”
McCormick (170) opened with back-to-back first-period pins to set up a 7-0 win over Spring Creek’s Clay Campbell in the championship. McCormick pinned North Valleys’ Garrett Pennington in the first period (1:43) and snapped Elko’s Gabe Cortez to his back 35 seconds into the second bout.
Dooley, a three-time regional champ, goes for his second state title before ending his Greenwave career and joining the Boise State football team in June.
“I’ve got to know that I’m the best here and show everyone what I can do,” Dooley said about his mental preparation for the regional tournament. “My goal was to be as quick and mean as I can possibly be. I just had that attitude the whole weekend.”
Dooley pinned all three of his opponents, beginning with South Tahoe’s Jesus Chavarin in 21 seconds. Dooley was quicker in round two, taking down Fernley’s Alec Carr in 18 seconds before pinning Elko’s Earnest Gregory with 29 seconds left in the first period to win his third title.
Now, Dooley’s out to again prove he’s the best heavyweight wrestler in the state.
“State’s a bigger deal than regionals. I’m going to come in with a reinforced mindset,” he said. “It gives me a sense of urgency and sense of confidence. There’s a little more importance on this one and now it’s back to back.”
Last and certainly not least going to the state tournament is Tommy McCormick, who has been on fire since late last season.
“The biggest change has been my confidence and knowing I can win all of these close matches,” McCormick said of the change.
Compared to last year, McCormick is expecting a state title. During the tournament in Las Vegas last winter, McCormick admitted he expected to be in the finals but that was it. However, he ended the night with his first state title and is expecting the same result this year.
“I wrestle my hardest in state. That’s the tournament that matters most for me. That’s when I wrestle my hardest,” he said.
McCormick (152) pinned his first two opponents to reach the championship where he decisioned Spring Creek’s Caden Constable, 10-4. McCormick pinned South Tahoe’s Kale Russel 69 seconds into the first bout and then followed with a fall over Elko’s Brandon Mariluch in quicker fashion: 27 seconds.
Prinz (106), a freshman, finished 1-2 to take fifth. After falling to Elko’s Gant Castor in the opening round, he lost a major decision to Fernley’s Brody Garrett, 9-0. Prinz, though, rebounded with a fall over Sparks’ Gabriel Reyes.
Cornmesser (120), a sophomore, finished 2-2 to take fifth. After losing by major decision to North Valleys’ Joseph Lumsden, 15-3, Cornmesser picked up a forfeit to advance to the consolation semifinal where he was pinned by Lowry’s Isaac Mori. Cornmesser won the fifth-place bout by forfeit.
Hatch (126), also a sophomore, was one win from going to state after winning his quarterfinal match over Elko’s Noah Chacon. Spring Creek’s Josh Tripp, who won the regional title, pinned Hatch in the second period (3:29). Hatch fell in his next two bouts to Spring Creek’s Terron Mogensen and Contreras to finish sixth.
Isabella Leal (106) dropped both bouts to Elko’s Elliot Leaman and Reyes. Josiah Rosario (126) lost both bouts by fall to Lowry’s Taylor Corak and Ivan Contreas. Luke Sorensen (138) fell in his two bouts to Lowry’s Caden Ricci and Jesse Hawkins.
Drew Kramer (138) lost both of his matches, including a major decision (18-5) to South Tahoe’s Drake Lathrop and fall to Fernley’s Michael Garcia. Cody Shelton (145) fell to Spring Creek’s Dyllan Fuchs in the opener and suffered a 5-0 setback to Fernley’s Tyler Egan.