Singelyn, Rohrbacher lead 5 Viking wrestlers to state
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe Seniors Ben Rohrbacher and Nate Singelyn reached the finals of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 3A Northern League Wrestling Championships this past weekend in Sparks, Nevada and will lead a cast of five Vikings to the state meet.
Rohrbacher, wrestling in the 182-pound weight class, and Singelyn (145) were seeking revenge against familiar opponents in the finals. Both wrestlers were seeded second with 7-1 league records, both losses came to their finals opponent.
Rohrbacher’s opponent, Churchill County’s Tommy McCormick, is the returning state champion, and maybe the best pound-for-pound wrestler in Nevada, handed the Viking his only loss in a league dual, a quick 45-second affair.
This second meeting ended with the same result but Rohrbacher showed he belonged, securing a few escapes and lasting until the final seconds of the first period.
“It’s fun when there are two studs in a division and you get to watch them smack everyone down on their way to the finals — some athletes fled that weight class to avoid McCormick but we welcomed the challenge,” said Vikings head coach Ryan Wallace. “Ben has had some difficult trials outside of the room this year, fortunately he has allowed that adversity to fuel him. He’s grown tremendously week-to-week all season.”
Singelyn, who placed fourth at state last year, has been on a mission to end his career with a gold medal.
Standing in his way from the North was Spring Creek’s Bear Browne who defeated him 10-5 in their first meeting and again got the better of him at regionals, 6 to 5 in the final on Saturday.
Singelyn was in position to score a takedown three times in the final minute of the match but Browne’s defense held up.
“We eliminated the mistakes from the first match and our game plan worked pretty well but against a kid that good, the window to capitalize on openings closes fast,” Wallace said. “We need to drill a few key positions hard this week to make sure the reaction time is faster.”
Aiden Breen (106) and Brandon Ruiz (160) both enter the state meet with upset in mind after earning fourth place at regionals. The four seed from the North Region wrestles the one seed from the South in the first round.
Breen, a freshman, lost in the semifinals but dug deep and secured a hard-fought victory over Churchill County’s Jeremiah Prinz to punch his ticket to Mesquite.
“Breen wasn’t feeling well and most kids would have crumbled but he’s a little tank, he overwhelms most other 106’s with his willpower, probably the most fun guy to watch in our league,” Wallace said.
Similarly, Vikings Junior Brandon Ruiz lost in the semifinals but willed himself to state. Ruiz suffered a shoulder injury in football and has managed that all wrestling season.
“When he puts everything together, his athleticism allows him to do things that almost defy logic, he can throw kids in his weight-class like they are half his size,” Wallace said. “The shoulder has limited how hard we could push to prepare but luckily the kid has heart and pushed through it.”
Freshman Patrick Webster (120) will be representing the Vikings as an alternate.
“Patrick wrestled great in a stacked 120 class,” Wallace said. “We are going to prepare as if he is on the bracket. I have seen the alternate get a shot a few times over the last couple years and sometimes playing with house money gives them an advantage against a kid who is overlooking them.”
The Vikings enjoyed one of their best seasons overall in terms of numbers and mat success. They had over 25 athletes wrestle in at least one varsity match, and earned second place finishes at both the Sparks Invitational and the Reed King Duals.
The future also looks bright as seven freshman populated the final varsity lineup.
“This group was fortunate to have great leadership at top, and an incredibly resilient group of underclassmen for them to lead,” Wallace said. “For the second year out of three we received the Outstanding Sportsmanship Award. This is representative of what we are trying to do, grow in number and compete the right way, winning matches is a distant third but I’m sure there will continue to be plenty of that too.
“The feeder program is also rocking,” Wallace added, “we have just shy of 100 kids on the middle school team, we are in need of volunteers.”
The State meet will be held on Friday and Saturday at Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite, Nevada.