Wrestling mat to debut at Douglas | RecordCourier.com

Wrestling mat to debut at Douglas

Douglas High wrestling team members are all smiles as they pose on their new black mat on Dec. 19 after it was rolled out for the first time at practice.

A new look will be on display Wednesday when the Douglas High wrestling team hosts Wooster for a Sierra League dual meet.

That is, the Tigers are raising the curtain on their new black mat in the dual and again on Saturday, Jan. 14, when the 16-team Carson Valley Lions Invitational is held. The new mat — black with an orange circle and signature "DT" in the center — replaces an old orange mat that had been used since the early 1980s.

"It's tremendous. It's our first new mat in over 30 years and it's a pretty one, too," first-year Douglas coach Jake Fair said. "It's a great thing for these wrestlers to have and for them to see that their work is being acknowledged with the sponsorships and everything else."

The Tigers, who dropped a 37-36 decision Wednesday in their Sierra League dual meet at Damonte Ranch (See story on Page 15), were anxious to get started when the mat arrived on Dec. 19.

"They were excited to use it," Fair said with a smile. "The day it came in, all you heard was a big whoosh down the hallway here. Every wrestler hustled to practice, they grabbed that mat and pulled it to the new (auxiliary) gym themselves; they opened it up and laid it all out."

The Tigers were coming off a respectable showing at the 41st annual Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, where they tied Lowry for 48th-place in a field of 88 teams on Dec. 28-29 at the Reno Livestock Events Center. The individual highlight was a third-place finish in the 170-pound weight class by Blake Murray (15-1 record this season).

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"We saw a lot of great wrestling and a lot of great matches," Fair said. "Blake just really stepped it up. You could see his desire to get to the medal round at that tournament. He was very focused, very determined, and his hard work paid off."

Looking ahead on the schedule, the Tigers compete again on Friday and Saturday at Sparks High's James McCollum Memorial Tournament, followed by home appearances next week against Wooster and the tournament. The Lions Invitational started in 1975.

The ultimate goal, of course, is the region tournament on Feb. 3-4 at Reno High School and then the state tournament on Feb. 10-11 at Spanish Springs.

"We have what I call our meat grinder because we have a dual every Wednesday and a tournament every weekend from here on out," Fair said. "It's basically going to be non-stop hard wrestling in the practice room. We're going to put the pressure on the kids to come out and work hard every single day."