Ross scores state tourney berth
The South Tahoe High wrestling team hasn’t had the easiest of seasons.
They finished last in the Northern Nevada 4A standings, did not win a single dual meet and qualified just four wrestlers for the zone tournament.
But ultimately, STHS coach Tom Barnes’ patience was rewarded on Saturday, day two of the zone meet at Hug High School. A mixture of controversy, sportsmanship, athleticism and jubilation saw captain Cavin Ross become the Vikings’ first entrant in the state tournament in four years.
Ross wrestled five matches, winning two and losing the other three in competitive, hard-fought bouts. Ross scored one of his wins against the tourney’s top seed from Galena. Both grapplers had fallen into the consolation bracket after first-round losses. Ross, trailing 7-6 in points, rallied for a pin with two seconds left in the second period.
The win enabled Ross to move on in the consolation bracket toward his eventual sixth-place finish. The top six wrestlers in each weight class qualified for the zone tournament.
“He wrestled five great matches and he really put on a show out there,” said Barnes of his sophomore captain. Ross defeated a Reed wrestler before falling to Elko and Sparks grapplers in the fourth and fifth rounds. “The last two matches were losses, but he was exemplary in finding ways to utilize his solid athletic skills.”
“He listened to his coaches. he tried holds and maneuvers we worked on in practice,” said Barnes, whose Vikes finished 13th overall with 16 points. Fallon won the team title with 205 points. “He scouted out his opponents and we worked on strategies before his matches. For a sophomore, that’s pretty amazing.”
On Friday, it looked like Ross would not even be able to compete at the zone meet. He had originally planned to wrestle in the 103-pound weight class, but was disqualified due to a rules violation.
Earlier in the season, Ross and teammate Wayne Lucero agreed to switch weight classes at a Jan. 23 tournament in Elko. Ross took over at 103, while Lucero moved to 112.
Tournament regulations required the sophomore to have made the scratch weight (103 pounds) at least once during the regular season. Ross had never done that, regularly weighing in within the two-pound allowance at 105.
Barnes said he must have overlooked the weigh-in criteria, but said he suspected opposing coaches might have pointed out the violation to tournament officials.
Faced with the prospect of having arguably the team’s best wrestler DQ’d from the tournament, Lucero made the ultimate sacrifice and gave up his spot and seeding in the meet to Ross.
“Wayne didn’t have to do that, and we were certainly prepared to have him wrestle,” Barnes said. “They’re pretty strong friends and it says a lot about Wayne’s teamwork. He put his captain’s interests ahead of his own interest.”
Ross heads into next weekend’s state tourney as a sixth seed, but judging from his performance at Hug, anything may be possible.
“Obviously, if he can beat a top seed in a zone tournament, then there’s acumen there to be able to knock off anyone,” Barnes said. “He’s not a wimp. He’s an experienced wrestler who has beaten some of the top wrestlers in other formats.”
Notes: South Tahoe wrestlers Rook Naccarato and Jordan Breisacher also hit the mats for the weekend’s zone tourney.
Naccarato, wrestling at the 130-pound weight class, finished eighth out of 13 wrestlers. Breisacher, competing at 140 pounds, fell in his first two matches.
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