Getting stronger: Vikings building a contender
November 29, 2005
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
Ryan Wallace had the time of his life working with the South Tahoe High wrestling team as an assistant coach last season.
Contributing to the success of a budding program helped Wallace redirect his life following the amputation of his right leg due to a extremely rare bone disease.
Little did Wallace know that his enjoyable indoctrination to high school coaching would serve as preparation for a greater assignment this season at STHS. Wallace now is the head wrestling coach after Ken Robbins wasn’t retained for unspecified reasons prior to the season.
“It’s sooner than I expected and wanted, but I’m having fun,” Wallace said. “I’m glad to take over a good team; it’s better than taking over a bad team.”
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Now Wallace can finally force his younger brother, Miles, to listen to him.
“It’s fun, but now the beatings move onto the mat instead of at home,” joked Miles, who was unbeaten in six division matches last year as a sophomore. “He gets as excited for matches as I do. He’s my closest friend and relative and all that.”
With nine starting wrestlers returning from last year’s solid team, coach Wallace can’t help but predict a fantastic season for his Vikings.
“We have a great team. I’ve been pumped over this team since the end of last season,” Wallace said. “I think it’s the best team the school’s had. It’s as good as I have seen in my 22 years.”
Wallace learned how special his group was during the summer when team members beckoned him for some extra mat time.
“During the summer kids were bugging me to roll out the mats so they could wrestle on my time,” Wallace said. “We have guys who are dedicated and guys who are talented.”
Mike Crouse, 119-pounder, was the team’s lone state qualifier a year ago, but Wallace is counting on Crouse being joined at state by at least two more Vikings – Miles Wallace (171) and Elliot Pekar (152).
The talent pool extends beyond the experienced trio. D.J. Slater (125), Lee Williams (130), Derek Simon (140), Anthony Barton (160), Martin Taylor (189) and Cody Reeder (275) give the Vikings a chance to be competitive against any team they face.
“We’re all experienced and pretty mean guys,” Miles said.
The Vikings also have more talent waiting in the wings. Garrett Gibb, one of the area’s top youth wrestlers for years, has returned to the team for his senior season following a two-year absence.
In addition, Ismael Mora, the defensive most valuable player for the Northern Nevada 4A Soccer League, is giving the sport a try.
Freshmen who could make immediate contributions are Chris Ewing (215), last year’s eighth-grade state champion; Paul Hubble (130); and Jeff Valeny (112).
Following a tune-up tournament last weekend in Reno, the Vikings go at it for real tonight when Damonte Ranch comes to town for the teams’ Northern 4A League dual opener.
“I’m excited for it,” Miles said. “I’ve been telling people at school to come; it’s almost the only thing I talk about.”
The match begins at 6 p.m.
STHS wrestling schedule
Date Opponent Time
Today Damonte Ranch 6 p.m.
Thursday At Truckee 5 p.m.
Saturday Capital City Duals TBA
Dec. 7 At Reno 6 p.m.
Dec. 10 Stockman’s tourney TBA
Dec. 14 At Wooster 6 p.m.
Dec. 21 DOUGLAS 6 p.m.
Dec. 28-29 Sierra Nevada Classic TBA
Jan. 7 Granada tourney TBA
Jan. 11 At Carson 6 p.m.
Jan. 14 Lincoln tourney TBA
Jan. 21 N. VALLEYS 10 a.m.
Jan. 25 At Hug 6 p.m.
STHS’s returning wrestlers
119 Mike Crouse
125 D.J. Slater
130 Lee Williams
140 Derek Simon
152 Elliot Pekar
160 Anthony Barton
171 Miles Wallace
189 Martin Taylor
275 Cody Reeder
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