Vikings head to the 2022 3A State Wrestling Championships in Boulder City
South Tahoe wrestling took a circuitous path to the Northern 3A Regional Championships in held in Spring Creek Nevada, last Friday and Saturday. South Tahoe had multiple events cancelled this season due to the record snowfall and Covid-19 restrictions, but that did not slow them down enroute to one of the best postseason performance in school history.
“This tournament has never been tougher, and we’ve never done better,” said Coach Ryan Wallace
“We only had three Varsity tournaments this year including this one, snowfall, covid outbreaks and my brother’s untimely passing, shredded all of our plans, but we knew there was a pandemic and we know we live on a snowy mountain, so we talked from the start about keeping our eye on February no matter what we got hit with.” He added “We thought we had a special group but it was impossible to know because we hadn’t hit any shots on anyone but ourselves.”
STHS boasted two finalists on opposite ends of the spectrum, Senior heavyweight Jesus “Chuy” Chavarin and Freshman 132 Kash Hendrick. Chuy was unseeded heading in the Northern 3A Regional Tournament only having five matches on the season due to a plethora of complications experienced by this year’s squad.
He didn’t let the lack of mat time effect his performance as he toppled the first and thirds seeds enroute to a Regional title. A great performance by a senior is expected and much more common in the sport, a finals run by a Freshman however is a much rarer occurrence.
Only one other freshman populated the list of 28 finalists. Kash ultimately fell short of gold losing by fall to Lowry’s Wade Mori.
Hendrick said, “the opportunity to win a State title means the World to me, making the Regional finals was a big step toward that goal” He added “Coach (Wallace) helped me believe this was possible four years ago, he always motivates me, I am ready to impress him again this week, we both know this is going to be the first of four State Championship wins for me.”
“Chuy is one of a kind, huge personality and an admirable ability to turn mistakes in triumphs, when the strongest kid in school learns how to use that muscle a Regional Champion is born”
“Freshman who are good at wrestling are why coaches go gray prematurely, he overwhelms and overcomes with immense willpower and self-belief, his lack of experience is his ally he has no reason to believe he won’t get out of any position he puts himself; I love him like a son, he deserves success, he does everything asked of him with 100% effort.”
A pair of Juniors Patrick Webster (138), and Garrett Friederici (145), each punched their tickets with 3rd place finishes. Webster dropped his first-round match-up to eventual runner up Elko’s Eliot Leaman then battled all back through the consolation bracket to finish with 3rd place by topping number two seed Andrew McClung of North Valley’s. Friederici took the opposite path he got off to a hot start then lost a close match in the semi-finals before ending the day with two straight wins one over a familiar foe in Luc Koch of Wooster then a consolation finals pin over Noah Chacon of Elko.
Junior Andrew Singelyn (160) and Sophomores Zach Briggs (113) and Cristian Arce (220) all placed 4th.
Briggs spot in State was secured with a win over an opponent who had pinned him the previous week in Dayton’s Sheamus, a feat coach Wallace says is a big ask.
“(it is) always a challenge for wrestlers to overcome the doubt associated with a prior whoopin’, Zach deserves a ton of credit for the mature composure he demonstrated in the rematch.”
Singelyn and Arce both had bright spots in their semi-final matches versus number one seeds but lost those matches, both rebounded and won the matches they needed to in the consolation semis then wrestled tough in the consolation finals.
“This is an exciting week, a record number of qualifiers is obviously fun, but the best part is that each of these kids had moments that proved they have what it takes to be a State Champion, this ensures us a set of completely relaxed and fluid practices, no drastic changes, the cake is baked now we get to decorate it.” -Ryan Wallace
A GoFundMe has been set up to help provide uniforms, meals and gear for the athletes. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-south-tahoe-varsity-wrestling.
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