Hunter Morris looks for a pin at 120 pounds against Bishop Manogue on Wednesday.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
Douglas High wrestling has been able to field two teams at tournaments this season, but it’s not just turnout numbers that have been impressive for the Tigers.
Multiple times this season, Douglas has taken second at a tournament, including its own invitational this past weekend.
Leading the way for the Tigers has been senior captain Conner Morris, who is 20-0 after the Tigers’ home triangular Wednesday.
Morris – and the rest of the Tigers – didn’t have a season last year, making the senior’s start to the season all the more impressive.
“It was a little slow at first but, like, as the season goes on you just pick it up,” said Morris. “Right back in the groove like you never left.”
The senior 126-pounder added that he thinks his mindset has been one of the biggest advantages of his success.
“Mindset. Making sure I’m level and I’m focused on each match,” said Morris.
Along with Morris, the Tigers have seen solid outputs from a number of other wrestlers, who are following the captain’s lead.
Jaxon Nixon took home first place at 170 pounds in the Tigers’ home tournament and has a record of 10-6 so far this season.
“Jaxon has been growing match after match,” said Douglas High head coach Jake Fair. “He’s been coming into his own … and we get him for another year.”
Sage Adie has been right on Nixon’s pace with a record of 11-5 at 182 pounds.
At heavyweight, Michael White sits at 14-7 and also won his weight class as the Tigers’ home meet.
“We’ve been working more technique. Coming in a sophomore into the heavyweight position, generally you’re running into a lot of seniors,” said Fair. “Working technique has been crucial for Michael.”
Along with not having a season in 2020, the Tigers got hit with COVID to start this wrestling campaign, forcing another pause.
However, once Douglas started up again, they’ve been putting together strong showings.
“We worked really hard in the offseason. … When you come to your home tournament, you really want a good showing,” said Fair.
Tournament showings and league matchups
Early in the season was no different for Douglas, as the Tigers took second as a team at the Sparks Invitational.
At 113 pounds, Victor Valdez won his weight class in Sparks before taking third at Douglas’ home tournament.
Adie also took home a first place medal at the Sparks Invitational.
Douglas has only dropped two duals this season, falling to Reed by a six-point margin and losing at home Wednesday to annual Northern Nevada powerhouse, Spanish Springs.
Continuing to get after it in the wrestling room has become a priority for a team looking to continue besting teams in regional duals.
Without the Sierra Nevada Classic this year, the Tigers have been forced to stop and start several times this season.
As a captain, Morris has continued to see that growth from his teammates and is preaching that each day is a chance to keep getting better.
“Personally, I think the growth from the beginning of the season to right now. I’ve been preaching small little steps to guys. … This tournament is proof of how many little steps we’ve taken and eventually it turns into one big step,” added Morris.
It’s the same mindset he’s had to have in order to keep that undefeated record intact.
“I’m already at the top, but I want to stay at the top. I want to make sure kids don’t catch me,” Morris said.
(Douglas High wrestler Manuel Garcia works atop a Spanish Springs wrestler at 195 pounds Wednesday during the Tigers’ home triangular. / Carter Eckl)