Northern Nevada boss Ross heads to Vegas |

Northern Nevada boss Ross heads to Vegas

The mission for South Tahoe High wrestler Cavin Ross is simple – win three matches in Las Vegas this weekend, and he’ll be the undefeated state champion.

“I’m definitely excited,” said Ross, South Tahoe’s first Northern Nevada 4A zone wrestling champ since 1993, and the North’s top-seeded 119-pound athlete in the 2000 NIAA/U.S. Bank State Wrestling Championship Friday and Saturday at Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas. “I know it’s going to be really tough. There’s a lot of good guys down there in Vegas, especially in my weight class.”

Ross, a junior, kept his record perfect throughout the Northern Nevada 4A zone tournament, raising the mark to 23-0, and capping it with a championship-round bout against Douglas’ Romaine Smokey. While he enters the tournament as the top seed from the Northern region and faces off against the fourth-seeded wrestler from Southern Nevada in the eight-man state draw, he knows it won’t be an easy draw. While Ross has mastered his opponents from the Northern division, he knows the hometown wrestlers at state will present tough competition.

“I can’t really expect anything,” Ross said. “There’s a bunch of really good guys down there.

“It’s definitely an advantage to not be known but then it could be an advantage to be known as the best, too.”

That’s his intention, to be the best in Nevada by the end of the tournament. With the double-elimination format of the championship, a loss sends a wrestler into the consolation bracket. So if Ross ends up winning the state title, he’ll maintain his perfect record.

But that task won’t be easy. None of the four Southern-zone wrestlers is a pushover. Cimarron’s Curtis Johnson recorded an 8-4 win in the zone finals to earn the top seed from the South, and brings a 31-1 record into state. Rancho’s Jered Medina may be just as good with a 39-1 record at 119 after moving up from last year’s weight of 103, where he was third at state.

Ross and his coach, Tom Barnes, concur the Vikings qualifier is prepared. The wrestler will begin to find out if that preparation is enough at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the first round. The championship rounds begin at 3 p.m. Saturday.

“In this case, there’s no fooling around,” said Vikings wrestling coach Tom Barnes. “119s, I’ve subsequently learned, is one of the most difficult classes, if not the most difficult class.

“He has a very stiff chore ahead of him, and it’ll be an eye-opening affair for him,” Barnes said of Ross, who wrestled at state at 112 pounds last year. “He’s worked hard this season. It’s OK – he’s got some more gears in him. He’s stepped up.

“When you meet your next level, it’s going to be a challenge,” Barnes said. “It’s how you respond.”

Still, that Ross has a shot at a state championship is more remarkable in context. South Tahoe has produced a top seed from the Northern zone despite struggling to fill its weight classes and did not win a league dual meet all season.

“He’s a dedicated kid right now, and the whole school is proud of him, and the community’s proud of him, I hope,” Barnes said.

Ross thanked those who have supported him. One of the biggest supporters this week has been his twin, Brad, who he has been wrestling in practice to prepare for the tournament.

“The administration has helped me out very much – Mr. (Jack) Stafford and Mr. (Frank) Kovac, and the support I get from my team, my coach, my family and my grandparents,” Ross said.

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