Northern 4A Regional Wrestling Tournament preview
Northern 4A Region Tournament
weight class capsules (Top five qualify for state)
-103 pounds -Michael Crooks of Galena is the No. 1 seed and defending champion in this weight class. The senior is 42-3 so far this season, including championships at the Oakdale (Calif.) and Fernley tournaments and a fourth-place medalist at the Sierra Nevada Classic. Crooks was a state runner-up last year. Vern Gallegos (20-9) of Elko, Rudy Maynez of Fallon and Matt Yaquinto of Douglas are others to keep an eye on, as is Carson’s Ricky Adams.
-112 pounds – Elko’s Forrest Bogue, 31-2 and seeded No. 1, was a zone runner-up and state champion at 103 pounds last year. Reno freshman Mike Kummer is one of the front-runners, along with Greg Olson of Wooster, a state 103-pound qualifier last year, and Carson senior Pat Moore. Galena sophomore Micah Parker (26-14) is another state tournament contender.
-119 pounds – Calvin Ross (36-1) of South Tahoe is the defending champion in this division and a fourth-place medalist at state last year. Sparks sophomore Scott Barnato is the No. 2 seed, followed by Chris Hunton of Elko and Reed sophomore Jessie Woodruff. Galena sophomore Kyle Knox (23-14) emerged as a dark horse two weeks ago with a 10-6 decision over Spring Creek’s Brandon Barrett, a 3A state champion last year, in the finals of the Fernley Invitational.
-125 pounds: This weight class could provide a quality match in the final between seniors Tommy Williams of Reno, the zone 112-pound champion and third at state last year, Romaine Smokey (30-3) of Douglas, the zone 119-pound runner-up last year, Sparks junior Jason Martinez, a state tournament qualifier last year, or Steve Reich of Hug. Williams (who has nearly 200 career wins) beat Smokey 5-4 in the finals of the Douglas tournament on Jan. 6, but Smokey came back to beat Williams the following Wednesday in their conference match, 2-1. Galena’s Justin Ellmaker (11-8) is also a state tournament veteran.
-130 pounds: Reno junior Jason McGuire looks like the top seed, but T.J. Dean of McQueen, Kevin Thomas of Fallon (a state qualifier at 119 pounds last year) and Dane Ashley of Elko are all right there. Galena sophomore David Kirn is another one to watch.
-135 pounds: Justin Sarnowski is a two-time zone champion and the 2000 state tournament runner-up at 130 pounds. Sarnowski is now 37-2 with gold medals at the Modoc, Silverado and Sparks tournaments. Both of his losses came at the Sierra Nevada Classic, where he placed fourth. Willy Aguilar of Sparks, Jeremy Nevin of Elko and Chris Arrate of McQueen are other contenders.
-140 pounds: This weight class could provide one of the featured matches of the day: Carson senior Doug Brooks (35-2), the defending zone 140-pound champion, and Wooster sophomore Zach Lazzari (28-6). They’ve met twice this season, with Lazzari winning 3-1 in the Sierra Nevada Classic finals, while Brooks won the rematch, 3-1 in overtime, Jan. 27 in a conference dual at Carson. Lazzari placed fourth at zone as a freshman 135-pounder last year. Matt Zander of Elko, Shayne Wallace of McQueen, Quintin Quiggle of Reed and D’Art Johnson of Douglas are others to keep an eye on.
-145 pounds: A tough division led by Fallon’s Glenn Shaw, a zone runner-up and third-place medalist at state last year, although Pat Foley of Reno draws the No. 1 seed. Foley was third in the 135-pound class at zone last year. Carson senior Justin LaPorte, Douglas senior David Tingle and Pete Barnato of Sparks round out a strong bracket. Tingle was a gold medalist at the Douglas and Alhambra tournaments (he was an outstanding wrestler at Alhambra). Brad Ross of South Tahoe is a possible challenger.
-152 pounds: Another loaded division that features Galena senior Chris Fritz (39-5) and Reno senior Josh Kivi. Fritz nipped Kivi 6-4 in a showdown at the Douglas tournament. Fritz was also a champion at the Oakdale Invitation and fourth at the Sierra Nevada Classic, and a fifth-place finisher at zone last year. Kivi won a 1999 state title at 119 pounds and a zone championship at 125 pounds in 2000. Interestingly enough, Kivi is tentatively the No. 1 seed and Fritz the No. 4, which means they would meet in the semifinals. Dana Lopez of Sparks, the No. 2 seed, has beaten Fallon’s Shaw and Reed’s Anthony Millsap, a state veteran. Carson senior Jaxon Luhrs will also try to do some damage.
-160 pounds: Elko senior Shawn Reilly (34-0) is the man here – a zone and state champion 145-pounder last year. The best bet for an upset is Sparks senior Travis Longobardo, a workhorse running back in football, who last year placed fourth at zone and then second at state as a 152-pounder. Reilly beat Longobardo in a conference match last weekend, 8-5. Carson sophomore Chris Kotter, Apollo Leighton of Hug and Nick Leveaux of Reed are contenders
-171 pounds: The No. 1 seed goes to Douglas junior Nathan Bennett (33-4, 73-17 for his career), a strong thrower who has already won at the Lowry and Douglas tournaments. Garrett Grider of Elko, Carson junior Josh Aguilar, Steve Schwarzer of Wooster and Tye Bader of Sparks are also threats.
189 pounds: McQueen senior Ryan Bader is the man here. The Northern 4A Defensive Player of the Year in football has won at the Sierra Nevada Classic this season, to go with the zone and state 171-pound titles he won last year. John Hillenbrand of Douglas has placed second at the Douglas and Alhambra tournaments and went 10-1 in conference. Carson’s physical freshman Nick Shine and Ed Perreira of Wooster are other top contenders.
-215 pounds: Chad Espinoza won zone and state championships in this division as a freshman last year. He is 41-0 this season with gold medals at the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions, Sierra Nevada Classic and Five Counties Invitational in Fountain Valley, Calif., and he is ranked as the No. 1 sophomore 215-pounder in the nation by USA Wrestling. Ty Crites of Sparks placed third at zone and fourth at state last year, is a threat to reach the finals here, although he may still go for the 189-pound class. Jason Lemmons of McQueen, Sam Keele of Fallon are others to watch. Douglas senior Matt Wilcks was a gold medal winner at Alhambra.
– 275 pounds: There have been some closes matches here. Matt Newcomer of Elko secured the No. 1 seed when he defeated Sparks sophomore Kelly Anundson in a conference match 3-2 last Saturday. Anundson only lost once in conference this season and placed at the Reno TOC. George Bergin of Wooster is another threat. Don’t overlook Galena sophomore Jeremiah Jones (24-16 and a champion at the Fernley tournament) or Kevin Huls of McQueen gave Newcomer a good battle in their conference duel.
(Assistant tournament director and Wrestling USA Magazine Nevada State Editor Michael Holen contributed to this story.)
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