Douglas wrestlers host Carson Valley Lions Invitational
QUESTION: Who was the first Douglas wrestler to win an individual championship at the Carson Valley Lions Invitational? (See answer at the story’s end.)
A field of 16 wrestling teams is expected to be on hand Saturday to compete in the Carson Valley Lions Club Invitational at Douglas High School.
The tournament, a Douglas tradition dating back to 1976, is scheduled to get under way at 9 p.m. with action on two mats in each of the high school’s two gyms.
“This is going to be a good tournament,” coach Jake Fair said. “There’s going to be some good wrestling, so hopefully, people will come out and see what we have.”
Northern Nevada large and small schools teams are expected to be on hand, including Northern 4A teams McQueen and Reed, South Tahoe and Fernley from the 3A, as well as traditional 2A power Yerington.
One obstacle to the size of Douglas’ tournament is that many of Northern Nevada’s top wrestlers will compete this weekend at the Spring Creek tournament. Among those teams is Churchill County, the 2016 Lions Invitational champion.
“That (Spring Creek) is a big tournament; they’re bringing in teams from Idaho and Utah, and that’s tough to compete against,” Fair said. “What we hope to do in the future is bring in teams from California and more of the top teams from around here (western Nevada). There has been some great wrestling history in this Valley in years past and we want to get back to that.”
The Douglas Tigers are coming off a solid performance last Friday and Saturday at Sparks High’s James McCollum Memorial Tournament, where they finished third as a team while junior 170-pounder Blake Murray and senior 126-pounder Ryan Adams won individual gold medals.
McQueen captured the team title, followed by Reed and Douglas.
“We came home with a trophy; we haven’t done that in a while,” Fair said.
Murray won his third straight gold medal at Sparks and improved his season record to 20-1 with a win in the championship round over South Tahoe sophomore Jose Leon, a state tournament qualifier last year. Adams improved his record to 18-6 with a win by fall in the finals over Kasey Brown of Pershing County (Lovelock), a fourth-place finisher at last year’s state tournament.
“Blake was just textbook out there,” Fair said. “There wasn’t a match he didn’t control from the start.”
Adams found motivation from the fact that he was a two-time silver medal winner as a 120-pounder at Sparks.
“Ryan kind of came in with a chip on his shoulder after settling for second the last two years,” Fair said. “He rose to the occasion at every opportunity and he finished off his opponents with class. That Pershing County kid (Brown) is tough … a very good athlete.”
Senior 145-pounder Will Williams and sophomore 182-pounder Chad Singer also secured second-place medals in their weight classes. Also, Gabe Wetzel lost his open-round match and then battled back to earn a fifth-place finish.
Freshman 126-pounder Race Coman provided another highlight after he lost in the first round and came back to win matches in the consolation bracket, according to Fair.
The Tigers’ Sierra League dual and Senior Night meet against Wooster on Wednesday was postponed due to weather. The meet has been rescheduled for this coming Wednesday in Minden as part of a four-way event that will involve Wooster, Galena, Carson and Douglas. Douglas will face Galena at 6 p.m. and Wooster at 7:30, while Carson will take on Wooster at 6 (two mats will be set up in the Douglas gym).
Trivia answer: Ed Garrison, a future Douglas Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee and state champion, won the 167-pound weight class gold medal at the inaugural tournament in 1976.