Fearsome fivesome: South Tahoe sends five wrestlers to state meet
The South Tahoe wrestling team took 10 grapplers to the Div. I-A Northern League championships last weekend at Spring Creek High — and half of that group qualified for the state meet. Five Vikings will wrestle at the Div. I-A state championships this Friday and Saturday — and all have plans to place while competing on the season’s biggest stage.
“We only have 10 on the team, so bringing five of those guys to state is just outstanding,” Vikings head coach Sean Griffis said. “All of them have a legitimate chance of medaling at the state tournament.”
South Tahoe’s state qualifiers include seniors James Sorensen and Miguel Leon, juniors Michael Valney and Blair Binns along with sophomore Andrew Herrera. The quintet earned a spot at the state meet by finishing in the top four at league championships last Friday and Saturday.
“All this work we put in the room this year — I believe in it and I trust our conditioning,” Sorensen said. “I know that we can go out there, bang with them and do what we do — we’re really focused to do as well as we can this weekend.”
Herrera was the Vikings’ top finisher last weekend, taking second in the 170-pound weight class — as a freshman last year he placed at the state meet. The sophomore beat Fernley’s Arsenio Reyes 16-1 in the quarterfinals and pinned Lowry’s Tristen Waller in the semifinals before losing in the championship match to Fallon’s David Hughes via a first-round pin.
“I’m pretty stoked — I’m really nervous though, too,” Herrera said. “I’m going for first — the best I’m going to see I’ve already seen.”
Sorensen finished third in the 132-pound weight class to make a second straight state tournament appearance. The senior pinned his quarterfinal opponent in seven seconds before losing a 3-2 decision in the semifinals — after pinning Elko’s Dalton Thomas to earn a state berth, he won a 6-1 decision over Lowry’s Quint Bell to lock up third place.
“It means a lot — last year I qualified but didn’t place, and this year I’m looking to do a lot better,” Sorensen said. There are some tough kids from the South that we ran into last year that we’re a lot more prepared for this year.”
Leon delivered a third-place finish at 182 pounds to qualify for state for the first time.
The senior pinned his opening opponent in 1:13 before losing a decision in the semifinals, then won a pair of decisions to capture third place — in the third-place match he defeated Fallon’s Juan Ledesma 4-3.
“It’s my first time making it to state and first time placing at regionals — it’s perfect timing,” Leon said. “It means so much to me — it’s just amazing and a blessing.”
Valney also delivered a third-place result while wrestling at 126 pounds to earn his second state appearance. The junior’s three victories came by pin, including a second-round pin of Fernley’s Dillon Maguin for third — in the semifinals he lost a 3-2 decision.
“There’s going to be a lot of good competition — I’m looking forward to hopefully making the semifinals,” Valney said. “I’ve been training so much in the offseason — I deserve it and I put in all my time for it.”
Blair Binns earned the last qualifying spot in the 195-pound weight class, placing fourth. After a win and loss by pin, Blair Binns beat Fallon’s Chase Hyde with a 9-7 decision to earn his first-ever berth in the state meet — he was pinned in the second round of the third-place match.
“It’s the first time I’ve been to state and I’m happy about it,” Blair Binns said. “It’s really important to me — it’s a goal I’ve been aiming for for a long time.”
Of South Tahoe’s five remaining wrestlers, freshman Jackson Binns came the closest to advancing. Jackson Binns took fifth in the 285-pound weight class, earning a spot on the podium by pinning Elko’s Byron Hansen in 1:07.
Junior Boe Griffis delivered one win in three matches in the 152-pound weight class at the league championships — all three of his contests were decided by pin. Seniors Addison Day (113 pounds) and Mike Herring (160) along with freshman George Rohrbacher (152) each went winless in two matches.
The Vikings’ five qualifiers advance to the state championships, which will be held Friday and Saturday at the Winnemucca Events Center in Winnemucca, Nev.
Quarterfinals begin Friday at 1 p.m. and semifinals start Saturday at 9 a.m. with championship finals beginning at 2 p.m.
“It’s going to be fun and it’s definitely going to make some memories — we’re never going to forget this,” Leon said.
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