Beach battles: South Tahoe Beach Wrestling Championships return to Lakeview Commons for second edition, doubles in size |

Beach battles: South Tahoe Beach Wrestling Championships return to Lakeview Commons for second edition, doubles in size

Anthony Gentile
Jesse Hellinger of Winters, California, pins Chris Corral from Keizer, Oregon, in an Open Division heavyweight match at the South Tahoe Beach Wrestling Championships at Lakeview Commons on Saturday, July 16.
Courtesy Photo |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Grapplers turned the sand into a wrestling mat last weekend during the second annual South Tahoe Beach Wrestling Championships. More than 50 wrestlers competed with Lake Tahoe as a backdrop at Lakeview Commons on Saturday, July 16.

“Our mission was to gather a bunch of people whose idea of a fun is throwing people down regardless of surface, then provide the opportunity for them to do that in a beautiful place on sand,” event organizer Ryan Wallace said. “Mission accomplished.”

The second edition of the event featured 56 competitors and 10 divisions — twice the size of its debut in 2015. Wrestlers from California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Indiana made up the field that grappled in a ring just feet from Lake Tahoe.

“There were some absolute beasts out there today — we had a couple former state finalists who didn’t even make the finals,” Wallace said. “The champions definitely deserved it, and so many of the matches were decided by one highly-contested point that if we re-ran the tourney we could easily have multiple brackets with a different champ.”

The main changes in competition from the first to the second year came in the form of an additional smaller circle for younger competitors and three referees per match in order not to miss a “push-out” point. The beach wrestling event doubles as a fundraiser for the South Tahoe High wrestling program, and featured a number of Vikings’ alumni in the field.

“Our wrestling culture is centered on the idea that we are a family for life, and we give back whenever possible. I love that this turned into an opportunity to show the current guys that this message is the truth,” Wallace said. “This tournament is silly, light-hearted and still extremely competitive, which is also the way I would describe our wrestling program.

“That formula has generated some great young people, hilarious stories and lifelong relationships. It is fun for us to creatively invent ways to get together and behave this way.”

For more information on the event, visit South Tahoe Wrestling on Facebook.

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