Wrestling: Tigers impress in opener
There was no way the Douglas High School wrestlers could have drawn a tougher opening assignment Saturday morning at the seventh annual Capitol City Duals in Carson City.
Douglas came out on the short end of a 41-30 score in a battle of Tigers against Lemoore, a perennial California power and the eventual tournament champion. The setback cost Douglas any shot at bringing home a trophy, but the team rebounded to win its next four duals with a performance that left coach Mike Gamberg smiling.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Gamberg said. “It’s too bad we didn’t get anything because we were definitely one of the top three teams here today. We just got stuck on the tough side of the bracket, and we got Lemoore right out of the gate.”
The Lemoore Tigers were dominant on their way to winning five straight dual meets – capped off by a 77-10 victory against host Carson in the finals – and capturing championship honors in the 12-team tournament at Carson High’s Morse Burley Gymnasium. Lemoore ranked among the top five teams in California and was listed No. 9 in the nation in 2000 – and the Tigers from Central California may be even better now.
“This is probably one of my better teams in 18 years,” coach Kent Olsen said. “This team has a lot more depth than the one we had in 2000. One of the good things about today was that we got 25 kids a lot of mat time.”
“We have a team that could contend for a state championship. A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but that’s what we’re pushing for.”
Lemoore’s depth showed when the entire team was given the Outstanding Wrestler award. When all was said and done, the purple-clad Tigers had their closest call against Douglas in a showdown between teams from small towns.
“I know I’m pretty happy with 41-30 (against Lemoore), and we had an opportunity to win the match at heavyweights, we just didn’t get it done,” Gamberg said.
Douglas won six matches, four by pin. Freshman Tony Ferris only needed 22 seconds to win his 125-pound bout, 140-pounder Brad Johnson won in 2:37, sophomore 171-pounder Kevin Rodgers won in 1:15 and 215-pounder Lake Terrell won in 1:49.
Douglas only trailed 35-30 going into the heavyweight bout, but Lemoore’s talented Robby Marin-Roman pinned Matt Castro in 3:52.
Sophomore 145-pounder Ryan Pruitt scored two points on a reversal in the third round and held on for a hard-fought 4-2 victory in his 145-pound match. Pruitt finished 5-0 on the day, with four of those wins coming by pin.
Ferris also posted a 5-0 record during the day for Douglas, while Bryan Kaplan was 4-1 at 119 pounds, Devin Barker 4-1 at 112 pounds and Johnson 4-1 at 140 pounds. Cameron Ames went 3-2 at 130 pounds, Josh Hintze was 3-2 at 160 pounds and Castro 3-2 in the 275-pound class. Ryan Olsen (103), Jake Williams (152), Rodgers (171), Sean Molina (189) and Terrell (215) were all 2-3.
“We’re just happy to be wrestling,” Gamberg said. “The kids have been working their tails off and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
— Dave Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1220.