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South Tahoe wrestling off to strong start

Special to the Tribune
The South Tahoe Vikings wrestling team is off to an impressive start, individually and collectively, this season on the mat.
Courtesy / Ryan Wallace |

Early returns have proven that South Tahoe wrestling’s preseason confidence was well founded.

Collectively the team boasts a 9-4 dual record, boosted by three wins Thursday, Dec. 15, over fellow division 3A opponents, Sparks, Truckee and Fernley. These are promising results for a team with only one senior and only a handful of wrestlers with varsity experience prior to the start of the year.

Much of the credit can be attributed to the rapid development of freshmen Nate Singelyn (10-6), Drake Lathrop (6-6) and Gavin Breen (9-6), juniors Jakob Costley (6-10) and Josiah Bracket (6-9), and the improvement of sophomores Jose Leon (14-4) and Kody Griffis (8-8).

“We aren’t putting pressure on any of these guys to win matches right now, we are focused on using every second of mat time to prepare ourselves for January (the post-season), but it is certainly exciting that that approach is producing right now,” said Viking’s assistant coach Ryan Wallace.

“We aren’t putting pressure on any of these guys to win matches right now, we are focused on using every second of mat time to prepare ourselves for January (the post-season), but it is certainly exciting that that approach is producing right now.”Ryan WallaceViking’s assistant coach

While the Vikings pride themselves on their collective strength, the individual accolades are pouring in for a few of the athletes.

Two South Tahoe wrestlers found themselves on the podium at the Cody Louk Invitational in Winnemucca, Nevada. The tournament was the first individual competition of the season. The Vikings defending state champion Andrew Herrera (10-2) took gold in the 220-pound division defeating Ty Arnett of Pershing County High School 12-11. Herrera, who won the Cody Louk last year in the 195-pound division, gave up more than 20 pounds to Arnett, but was able to hold on for the victory in a battle of state champions. Arnett has won the 2A state title each of the past three seasons.

“Andrew was a week away from being eligible for 195s — he looked so much smaller. That was a great win because he could not rely on just his strength,” said South Tahoe head coach Sean Griffis.

Sophomore Jose Leon took fourth for the second straight year in a stacked 170-pound division. Leon recorded three quick wins in route to a semi-final match-up with Spanish Springs’ Casey Preston, which Leon dropped 8-6. Leon then defeated Jesse Case of Carson City to earn a berth in the consolation finals where he lost a decision 4-2 to Cameron Bowman of Fernley.

“Jose is the most mentally tough kid I have ever coached. Both of his losses were the result of correctable mistakes. These things happen against high level opponents. The important thing is that it is clear he belongs on the list with the top guys in his division,” Wallace said.

The following weekend South Tahoe left the hill again but this time they headed the opposite direction to Wheatland, California. Three Vikings returned home from the 31 team tournament with some hardware to show for their effort. Singelyn and sophomores Griffis and Leon each earned fifth place. Each of the three wrestlers’ first loss of the day came to an eventual finalist in their respective weight classes.

“The team wrestled exactly how we had hoped. We weren’t burdened by the fault of trying to control the results, we just set our game plan and went hard,” Wallace said, adding, “success in this sport is not about how you perform on Saturdays in December — it’s about how you approach Mondays, and how enthusiastic you can stay throughout a demanding week of preparation. We ask a lot of these young men and they’ve kept a great attitude while exceeding our expectations.”

For more information on South Tahoe wrestling, email sltwrestling@yahoo.com, like South Tahoe Wrestling on Facebook or download Team App and search for South Tahoe Wrestling.


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