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Wrestlers make strong showing

by Chuck Smock, sports editor

The Douglas wrestling team bounced back from its first Sierra League dual loss on Wednesday with a strong showing at the Earl Wilkens Tournament in Fallon on Saturday.

The Tigers won their four-team pool with a 3-0 record and then defeated a tough Lowry squad, 35-34, to advance to the championship round.

Sparks High, which is a perfect 10-0 in dual matches this season, pulled out a narrow 41-34 victory against Douglas to claim the tournament title.

“I felt really good about the Sparks match, even though we lost,” Douglas coach Bill Nickerson said. “Sparks has a very tough team.

“Overall, I was very happy. I thought we wrestled very well. And I know we can wrestle better.”

The Tigers will get the chance to build on their weekend showing today when they host a double-dual with McQueen and Wooster, starting at 4 p.m.

Douglas beat both the Lancers and the Colts in the Capitol City Duals tournament at Carson High last Saturday, the same day McQueen defeated Wooster to win the 4A State football championship.

Nickerson said he expects both teams to show up with different lineups.

“They’ll be coming back with different teams, but I think we’ll get them,” he said. “I feel pretty confident going into the match.”

The Tigers didn’t have any troubles in their three dual matches in the pool portion of the tournament in Fallon. They beat Fernley, 66-15, Incline, 50-30, and the South Tahoe junior varsity, 78-0, to win Pool B.

In the semifinals, Douglas trailed Pool A winner Lowry by two points heading into the heavyweight match. Douglas sophomore Mark Butti battled for a 9-7 win to secure the team victory.

Matt Yaquinto scored a technical fall, 15-0, against Lowry.

Romaine Smokey pinned his opponent at 125 pounds.

Grant Hall scored a takedown with two seconds remaining in the third period to win the 152-pound match, 7-6.

Nathan Bennett (171 pounds), John Hillenbrand (189) and Matt Wilcks (215) each pinned his Lowry opponent to give Butti the chance to close out the match.

Another key performance against Lowry, according to Nickerson, was turned in by Chris Battista at 119 pounds. Battista, a first-year wrestler who was called up from the junior varsity last week, lost 6-1 but avoided giving up more than the minimum of three team points in the decision.

“He wrestled tough for us,” Nickerson said of Battista, who was 2-3 for the tournament. “I was very happy with the way he wrestled. By the time zone comes around, he could surprise some people.”