Vasquez, Gibb advance to state tournament |

Vasquez, Gibb advance to state tournament

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

South Tahoe High wrestlers Garret Gibb and David Vasquez will make their first-ever trip to the state tournament next weekend in Reno after fourth- and third-place finishes at regional championships in Sparks.

STHS’s Vasquez, a senior, finished in third place in the heavyweight division and Gibb, a freshman, was fourth in the 103-pound weight class in the two-day tournament last weekend.

Overall, the Vikings finished 11th out of 14 teams in the Greater Nevada Northern 4A Regional Championships. The Vikings had 40.5 total team points. Fallon won the team event with 210.5 points.

In individual competition, the top five finishers in each division advance to state.

“We did as well as could be expected,” said Vikings’ head coach Jack Lopez. “We’re not really a tournament team (right now). We were hoping maybe one of the other wrestlers would have snuck through, but realistically, there were only two we had high hopes for to make the state meet.”

Those two individuals advanced, each of them making it into the consolation round for third and fourth place.

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Vasquez went 4-1 for the tournament. He defeated Dan McDonald of Douglas, 6-2, to advance to the semifinals, where he lost to Jeremiah Jones of Galena by a 2-0 decision.

“It was a really close match and it could have gone either way,” Lopez said.

“He beat me with an escape (and) it was a mental mistake I made,” Vasquez said. “I could have easily made it to the second round. Instead, I moved into consolation, where I had to beat (McDonald). I already beat him four times this year, but he was wrestling hard because it was regionals. It was very difficult because I usually never go into the third round.”

Kelly Anundson of Sparks won the division. Vasquez took third with a win over Rich Cothrun of Elko, pinning him in the second round. Overall, his record is 30-5 on the season.

Vasquez said he was surprised at how tough the competition was at the tournament but pleased that he could show some of his teammates that heavyweight isn’t any easier than other weight classes, even if he often wins his matches in the first round.

“It was very physical and maybe the hardest I’ve ever wrestled at any tournament,” he said. “A lot of lightweights give me a hard time because they think the heavyweight class is really easy. But it was a very hard weight class. My teammates got to see it isn’t that easy because I had to go to the third round. So that was pretty cool.”

STHS’s Gibb had a difficult route to the third- and fourth-place round as he dropped his first match of the day to Jason Tolzmann of Fallon, 12-4.

“That sent him into the consolation rounds, but he wrestled back and won three straight matches,” Lopez said.

Gibb again faced Tolzmann in the third- and fourth-place round, losing 7-6 but faring much better than their first meeting.

“(Gibb) was ahead 6-5, and he had him on his back with 54 seconds left,” Lopez said. “That’s a long time to keep a kid on his back and he eventually wiggled out, reversed him and won.”

Juan Avila of Elko won the 103-pound division.

Other South Tahoe wrestlers picked up victories at the tournament, though not enough to advance to state.

In the 112-pound weight class, STHS’s Rusty Faulkner beat Reed’s Drew Nixon in the consolation round and in the 125-pound division, STHS’s Nick Naccarato defeated Douglas’s Austin Beemer, also in the consolation round.

Lopez said he was pleased with South Tahoe’s performance at regionals, despite having a young squad this year.

“We were happy that two of our boys are representing our school,” he said. “For this year that’s about what we expected. We were hoping maybe one of the other wrestlers would have snuck through, (but) our team is too young, with too many sophomores on varsity. We did just fine as a dual team. We just hope our sophomores stay with us so when they’re seniors, we will have a good tournament team.”

State matches begin at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday at Reno High.