Crouse realizes his ‘Vision Quest’ |

Crouse realizes his ‘Vision Quest’

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

When Mike Crouse, an eighth-grader at South Tahoe Middle School, reached the finals of the Tah-Neva wrestling championships on Saturday in Yerington, he must have thought he was on a “Vision Quest.”

Like the movie character Louden Swain portrayed by Matthew Modine, Crouse came face to face with a wrestler who seemed impossible to defeat.

Crouse lost all four regular-season matchups with his championship opponent. There wasn’t any reason to believe that their fifth matchup would be any different.

However, like Swain, Crouse didn’t buy into the invincibility of his foe. Crouse scored a reversal early in the third period to earn a 4-2 decision to capture the 85-pound eighth-grade championship.

“He wrestled really solid and didn’t make the mistakes he’s made in the past,” said STMS first-year wrestling coach Daryl Witmore. “It was a big upset.”

Crouse won all three of his matches at 85 pounds.

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Three other Timberwolves came away from the season-ending championships with medals. Eighth-graders Miles Wallace and Ryan Lucia each claimed third-place medals and eighth-grader Jon Walker took home a fourth-place medal.

Wallace won three of his four matches to placed third at 150 pounds and Lucia posted a 2-1 record en route to third place at 110 pounds. Walker was victorious in two matches as he captured fourth place at 100 pounds.

Their efforts, along with team members who didn’t place, helped the Timberwolves finish fifth out of 16 teams. Also competing for STMS at the championships were sixth-grader Jeff Valney, 75 pounds, 1-2 record; eighth-grader D.J. Slater, 90 pounds, 1-2; eighth-grader Lee Williams, 95 pounds, 1-2; eighth-grader Elliot Pekar, 125 pounds, 1-2; eighth-grader Jake Fonken, 130 pounds, 1-2; and sixth-grader Chris Ewing, 115 pounds, 0-2.

Unable to compete at the championships were eighth-grader Rita McKeon, 110 pounds; sixth-grader Courtney Faulkner, 95 pounds and eighth-grader Anthony Barton, 150 pounds.

“I’m happy with all of the kids,” Witmore said. “They made huge improvements this year. They had a whole lot of fun with a sport that I think can provide something back to them.”

A team banquet is scheduled for tonight at the school.