Lopez’s return coincides with large turnout
South Tahoe High’s wrestling program was never better than when Jack Lopez was in command from 1975-1992.
Lopez was in charge when the Vikings produced their only individual state champion in 1988 and the STHS physical education instructor had a peerless knack for convincing young men to go out for a sport that has long been deemed as too demanding.
Lopez, however, demands little fanfare as he reassumes control of the program that serves as his imprint as a STHS educator.
“I’m not a Knute Rockne. I’m just a teacher at South Tahoe High trying to help out a bit,” said Lopez, who is sharing the coaching duties with longtime colleague Jim Kruk. “We had some success years ago. I hope people don’t expect any miracles. Everybody has done a good job in this position, and it’s my turn again.”
Since Lopez resigned in 1992, the program has been overseen by two coaches – Mike Noble and Tom Barnes. The latter resigned after he had an academically ineligible wrestler compete in the name of another athlete who had registered for the Northern Nevada 4A zone tournament but could not compete.
In recent seasons the program languished through a period of low turnouts. But interest has returned to the sport, but Barnes says his 38-wrestler turnout is only because of his accessibility to the students.
“I teach P.E. and through my weight training classes I feel I have better access to the kids than most,” Lopez said. “We do have access to the kids during the day and that’s the only reason we have more kids out.”
Junior Nick Alexander, who will wrestle at 215 pounds, is enjoying the return of Lopez on several fronts.
“Not to take anything away from Tom Barnes but Jack Lopez is a good coach, his practices are a lot more intense and Jack has a lot more power than Barnes did. We can have practice right after school instead of 8 at night,” Alexander said.
Consequently, the Vikings should be able to fill most, if not all, of the weight classes for the first time in nearly a decade.
“We could wind up with a fairly talented group because we have some wrestling depth,” Lopez said.
The talent pool begins with Cavin Ross, the defending zone champion at 119 pounds. Ross carried a 23-0 record into the 2000 state championships and left with a fourth-place medal.
“I know I could’ve done better, but that’s life,” said Ross following the state championships that left him with a 25-2 season record. “This year was a pretty good year, so I’m definitely happy about that. I pretty much saw this year as a learning year.”
So far, Lopez has seen the qualities from Ross that could make him the second state champion in school history.
“He and his brother (Brad’s) work ethics are incredible,” Lopez said. “It’s going to take a good kid on a fine day to beat him and Brad is right there with him.”
Lopez couldn’t be happier that his return coincided with Miller time. The family has graced him several outstanding grapplers in the past, including 1992 state runner-up Andy. The latest products include 152-pound senior JoJo Miller and 112-119-pound sophomore Alex Miller.
Lopez, whose son Jason used to star for Tim Jaureguito’s football program in the early 1990s, has tapped into the gridiron coach’s program again, as upperweight candidates Justin Nixon, Matt McGuffin and Alexander are out for the team.
Other Vikings showing preseason promise are 145-pound junior Galen Breisacher, senior Ascension Gonzalez and senior J.T. Davis. Davis, the son of Mayor Tom Davis, is a first-time wrestler who has made an immediate impact on Lopez.
“He has the heart and will help us out. For a senior to get beat up by the younger kids shows a lot of fortitude, and he’s having a good time,” Lopez said.
Despite his near-decade absence from the sport, Lopez says wrestling really hasn’t changed a bit.
“They are the same kids. Wrestlers are nutcases, anyhow,” he chided. “You know whose butts you can push and whose you can’t. My tactics are old-fashioned and they worked for me once. I hope they’ll work for me again.”
The Vikings ease into their season at the Yerington Tournament on Saturday.
“We’re real rough around the edges. The team that you’ll see on Saturday isn’t going to the same team you’ll see four weeks from now.”
Alexander is ready to go.
“It’s going to be a blast,” Alexander said. “We’re all going to have a good tim and hopefully we’ll win a couple.”
started 1975, retired in 1992 last year. one state champ Scott 190 Milbrodt, 1988
It was time to go, decided
my tactics are old-fahysioned they workede for me once, they hope they’l work again.
Kid is a kid, always taught PE. I havent’ changed. I suppose as teahcers have to chqnge or wyou won’t be able to teach, but this only way i know how to do it.
being head coach is very demanding.
38 kids out, lost three, kids come out don’t like it, wrestling is pretty tough spot to comit to. If we can carry 30 I’d be thrilled ot death.
not for me syndrome.
simply have more bodies to wreslte with in pracite, where kids wrestle more than the same kid eveyr day.
Both Tim and I both teeach here, back early 90s flip-flopped, 80s my assistant, 90-92 he stopped, 88-89 I was his assistant.
same kids, wrestlers are nut cases anyhow. They are the same kids, You know whose butts you can push and whou you can’t we have pretty good gorup of juniors and senniors, they are the leaders.
Galen, junior, 145-pounder, talented wrestler, taken some time off, he’s quality kid, right there.
third year, always small and healvy now he’s strong, Nick ALexander, fotball player … junior, 215.god quality kid.
JoJo Miller, senior, from Miller ANdy placed, about five miller kids, prpb goi 152-160, ALex Miller, 112-119, sophomore
They are good boys
Matt McGuffin, 171, senior, injured, concussion…
Ascension Gonzalez, senior; senior J.T. Davis, first year senior, enver wrestled before, great kid, 152-160, green as tomato but has the heart. and wil help us out. for a senior to g et beat up by younger kids shows lot fortitude, and he’s having good time.
They’re right there as far as our team goes, but don’t know how do against other teams. Cavin Ross is fine and fine wresgtler, it’s going to take a good kid on a fine day to beat him and brad is right there with him.
Open season, Yerington Tournament, 56 varsity tournament, schedueld way can do well and schedueld 2 very difficult wones, REno , 85 schools, Dec 28-29, 22-23 35 teqamer at Nevada unio to see how good kids can fare against really good wreslters. we have to show good theyt can be.
we dont’ have togetehr year, we’re real rougth around edges. Thes team see sat not going to be same team see four weks now
I don’t think I’l prb go 0-22, and fix this thing . Tom did a good job.
Massala. whoe thing wrestlign is you need the kids.
“i’ts great, he’s a good coafh, not to take anythign away from caoch barnes, Jack klopez is a good coach.
practice is lot more intense, and lot more guys want to come donw. Jack has lot more power than Barnes did, we can have it right after school instead of 8 at night.”
I’m sure we’re going to win a couple of duals, we have lot of good wrestlers coing back, and . we have lot new guys coing out, we even have a heaveyweight whihc we havnet’ had sicne I was a freshman.
“I can’t wait, it’s going to have a bls. we’re all going othave a good time, hopefully we’ll win a couple.’
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