Murray ready for state |

Murray ready for state

Blake Murray

Blake Murray fully intends to put his best foot forward — both feet, actually — when he shoots for his ultimate goal this weekend at the NIAA State Wrestling Championships at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks.

Despite standing on the same side of the bracket as two Southern region champions, the Douglas junior 170-pounder has high hopes in returning for his second state tournament appearance.

Wrestling in three divisions (4A, 3A and 1/2A) is scheduled to begin Friday with opening ceremonies at 12:45 p.m. The competition resumes on Saturday at 9:30 a.m., with the gold medal matches set to begin on three mats at 2:30 p.m.

“Blake is going to have tough matches, no matter what,” Douglas coach Jake Fair said. “But we do believe Blake has a good placing (in the bracket) and that he has a good chance to wrestle for the championship on Saturday.”

Murray will take on Basic sophomore Ivan Espinoza, the Sunrise Region champion, in the first round. The winner of that match will most likely face Bishop Gorman junior Joey Mazzara, the Sunset Region and defending state 170-pound champion.

The top half of the bracket features Reno senior Andrew Berreyesa, a four-time region champion and a state champion in 2015. Berreyesa lost an 8-6 decision to Mazzara in last year’s state 170-pound title match.

Murray boasts a 34-4 season record, with three of those losses coming against Berreyesa. The most recent came by fall in 3:16 last Saturday during the Northern 4A Region finals at Reno High School.

Why does Murray, who went 2-2 as a 160-pounder at last year’s state tournament, believe he has a good path that runs through the best from Las Vegas? It all comes down to those feet, if you ask Fair.

“Berreyesa has a style that is very tough to wrestle against,” the Douglas coach said of the 6-foot-2 Murray. “He rides the hips very well … a great top wrestler, which causes a lot of problems. Blake’s strength is on his feet, and I think that’s where he will shine (this weekend).”

Note: Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for students, $3 for seniors 62-and-over, and children 8-and-under are free.