Ross, South Tahoe have high hopes for zone wrestling
At the end of a year when South Tahoe’s wrestling program was trying to grow, the Vikings finally have a concrete goal for the weekend.
That goal is to send one wrestler or more to the state tournament in Feb. 18-19 at Cimarron Memorial High in Las Vegas. The first step along the way is the 4A Northern Nevada Zone Wrestling Championships on Friday and Saturday at Galena High in Reno.
South Tahoe is sending five wrestlers from its young team to the zone championships, but it’s no secret, though, who the one wrestler South Tahoe is concentrating on getting to Las Vegas.
“We’ll take it one match at a time,” said South Tahoe head coach Tom Barnes. “Cavin (Ross) has some very good results going into the tournament, therefore, we’re going to see if we can get him a top seed.”
Indeed, Ross has posted very good results this season, building a 20-0 season record. That’s despite wrestling four early matches at 125 pounds before dropping to his normal weight of 119.
“I’ll be seeded highly, but I don’t know how I’m going to do, Ross said. “I hope the rest of my team does well, too.”
He has set a high goal for zone – first – for two reasons: He wants to stay undefeated and have a high seed at state. He said he thinks his chances of doing that are OK, but has his eye on three other competitors in the class – Douglas’s Romaine Smokey, as well as the 119-pound competition from Wooster and Sparks.
“I’m just going to try to prepare myself with the rest of the team,” Ross said.
Ross has faced only one of the three wrestlers he is watching – Smokey. The two competitors met Jan. 29 at the Douglas Invitational, where Ross came from two points down to win 5-4 in the championship match on a last-minute near-fall.
“Smokey is indeed a strong wrestler, and we’re working the last two weeks on exactly the elements that caught (Ross) in the matches when he’s been a little shaky,” Barnes said.
Barnes said all of the wrestlers traveling to Galena – Ross, at 119 pounds, his twin brother Brad Ross at 130, Rook Naccarato at 135, Gombu Sherpa at 152, and Chris Herzog at 171 – have improved. None have a winning record on the season, though, and Brad Ross, Naccarato and Herzog face particularly tough paths. Naccarato and Brad Ross are wrestling in two of the toughest weights, and Herzog has been battling at 171 despite giving up about 10 pounds to his opponents.
“The middle weights tend to have the football players and the kids who are pretty strong, and this year is no exception,” Barnes said.
The top-four finishers at zone qualify for the state tournament. Zone is a double-elimination tournament.
Zone begins Friday with the preliminaries, championship final and consolation first round. Saturday offers the second round in the consolation bracket, championship semifinals, consolation quarterfinals, consolation semifinals, consolation finals and championship finals.
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