At home on the mat: South Tahoe wrestling hosts first meet in seven years, beats Truckee |

At home on the mat: South Tahoe wrestling hosts first meet in seven years, beats Truckee

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe senior Michael Valney won the STHS Boys Outstanding Athlete of the Year award for 2015-16, after a historic campaign on the mat.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune File |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe wrestling team competed in a home meet for the first time in seven years on Wednesday, Dec. 16, and made the most of the occasion. The Vikings beat Truckee 55-18 at the Blue Gym, sweeping each of the contested matches while wrestling within home confines.

“It’s surreal — it’s the best feeling I’ve had in a while,” Vikings senior Michael Valney said. “To be able to perform out in front of my family and friends is beyond me, and it’s amazing.”

South Tahoe (7-3) won all seven contested matches to go along with forfeit victories in three weight classes — 120 pounds, 183 and 220. Truckee’s lone points came via forfeits at 132, 138 and 145.

“It was really awesome, and this is something we’re going to look to do more and more in the future,” Vikings coach Sean Griffis said. “We’re going to try to get two or three of them each year.”

“It’s surreal — it’s the best feeling I’ve had in a while.”Michael ValneyVikings senior, on wrestling at home

The Vikings won five straight matches against the Wolverines to race out to a 29-0 lead on Wednesday. Freshman Kody Griffis led off with a technical fall at 106 pounds, jumping out to a 20-5 lead in the second period.

Freshman Skyler Bledsoe (113 pounds) pinned his opponent with 38 seconds left in the first period, and freshman Max Wirth (126) beat the first-period buzzer with a pin in the last second. At 132 pounds, Valney recorded a second-period pin to improve to 14-1 on the season.

“We have some good younger guys and some older guys that are mixing in well,” Griffis said.

After three straight forfeits made it 29-18, South Tahoe added to its lead courtesy of freshman Jose Leon. At 160 pounds, Leon recorded a technical fall in the second period after building a 21-3 advantage.

In the only match that went the distance, STHS freshman Chris Chacon outlasted his Truckee counterpart to earn three points. Chacon won the 170-pound match 9-6, a grinder that left both wrestlers exhausted after six minutes on the mat.

In the last contested match of the night, junior Andrew Herrera made quick work of his Wolverines opponent. Herrera’s first-period pin was South Tahoe’s fourth of the meet and punctuated the decisive victory.

“We have a pretty good team this year,” Valney said. “We have good wrestlers, and most of our kids will go to state.”

In front of its home crowd, South Tahoe showed exactly why it has high expectations this season. The Vikings are talented and deep, and have the ability to win now while laying a foundation for the future.

“It’s something we’re going to keep trying to build on,” Griffis said. “If we can get a large group of freshman next season again, it’s just going to continue to build from there.”

The Vikings return to action after the holidays at the California Coast Wrestling Classic on Monday, Dec. 28. The two-day, double-elimination tournament will be held at Aptos (Calif.) High.

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