Tigers set for region wrestling
OTHERS TO WATCH:
138 pounds: Cameron Sandoval of Damonte Ranch and Nathan Mersino of Carson could meet in a rematch of the 2016 region 132-pound finals. Sandoval won that match, 7-3.
152 pounds: Israel Casarez of Reed is the one to beat in this division. last year, Casarez defeated Will Williams in the region 138-pound final and went on to win gold at the state tournament.
195 pounds: One of the feature matches could take place here between defending region champion Joey Miller of McQueen and Abel Carter of Carson. Carter lost to Andrew Berreyesa of Reno in the 2016 region 170-pound final.
Heavyweight: Tyler Barats of Spanish Springs, Sheldon Miller of Carson and Robert Siavo of Galena were the 2-3-4 finishers in this division last year and all three are back.
Douglas High wrestlers Will Williams, Blake Murray and Chad Singer will come in as No. 1 seeds from the Sierra League Friday when the Northern 4A Region Wrestling Championships get under way in Reno.
Competition at Reno High School is scheduled to begin with the opening ceremonies at 3 p.m. Wrestling will resume Saturday at 10 a.m., with the championship round matches scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. At stake will state tournament qualifying for the top three place finishers in each weight class. The state tournament will be held on Feb. 10-11 at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks.
Coach Jake Fair indicated that the Tigers want to expand on the three wrestlers they had qualify for state in 2016.
“My goal all along has been to take five to state and the potential is there, hands down” Fair said. “This week is all about focus and internal drive. At the start of the year, we had all the kids write down their goals and this week we put those goals up on our white board in the wrestling room so they can focus on what they want to achieve.”
Williams drew the Sierra’s No. 1 seed in the 145-pound weight class, Murray at 170 pounds and Singer at 182 pounds. Jaden Blanchard (106 pounds), Freddie Foster (113), Kindel Isham (120), Gabe Wetzel (152) and Daniel Ferguson (195) are expected to draw No. 2 seeds in their respective divisions. Ryan Adams (126), Shane Trivitt (132) and Richard Castellanos (220) are expected to come in as No. 3 seeds. Those positions are tentative until the coaches seeding meeting on Friday.
“Bracket-wise we’re in favorable positions at every weight class where we have seeded wrestlers,” Fair said.
Williams, a state qualifier in 2016, will face a tough 145-pound division that includes Reno’s Connor Pearson, who is coming off a gold medal performance this past weekend at the Lou Encalada Invitational in Fairfield, Calif., Kai Ward of McQueen and Spencer Patterson of Spanish Springs. Murray also faces a formidable challenge at 170 pounds, where he has lost twice this season to Reno’s Andrew Berreyesa, a three-time region champion and 2015 state champion, as well as Colby Preston of Spanish Springs. Singer, a sophomore, is in a solid division with defending champion Drake McAdow of Damonte Ranch (five-time USA wrestling all American), Logan Klonicke of Spanish Springs, Carson’s Kellen McDermott and Reed’s Tim Eubanks.
One division for Douglas fans to keep an eye on is 126 pounds, where Adams is seeded on the same side of the bracket with Marshall Hauck of Damonte Ranch and Frankie Giovannetti of Reno. Adams lost to Hauck, 8-7, on a reversal in the last five seconds when they met in a league dual meet on Jan. 4. Three-time state champion Ian Timmins of Wooster — a Naval Academy signee — and Nicholas Poalillo of Spanish Springs are tentatively entered on the opposite side of the bracket.
And at 120 pounds, Isham is a four-year veteran of the Douglas program who was one win away from competing for a state berth in 2015.
From a team standpoint, the Spanish Springs Cougars are clear favorites to win their fifth straight region championship and eighth in nine years. So far this season, the Cougars won tournament championships in January at the Joe Rios Memorial (Chico, Calif.), King of the Mat (Windsor, Calif.) and Placer Duals (Auburn, Calif.), took first- and third-place with a split squad at the Carson Valley Lions Invitational in Minden on Jan. 14, and finished third at the Sierra Nevada Classic on Dec. 28-29.
The Reno Huskies edged past De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) to win the Lou Encalada team crown.