South Tahoe quintet wrestles at state meet; Herrera takes 3rd at 170 |

South Tahoe quintet wrestles at state meet; Herrera takes 3rd at 170

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe sophomore Andrew Herrera (right) grabs hold of Virgin Valley’s Cache Burnside during a quarterfinal match at the Div. I-A state championship meet last Friday at Winnemucca Events Center. Herrera took third in the 170-pound weight class.
Courtesy Tony Erquiaga / The Humboldt Sun |

WINNEMUCCA, Nev. — Five South Tahoe wrestlers took to the mat at the Div. I-A state championship meet — and ended the 2014-15 season battling against tough competition. The Vikings grappled at the state championships last Friday and Saturday at Winnemucca Events Center, highlighted by a third-place finish from sophomore Andrew Herrera in the 170-pound weight class.

“I was really proud of the way they wrestled — they did all the things we’ve been working on all year,” Vikings coach Sean Griffis said. “They weren’t walking away wondering what else they should have done — they all wrestled the best they could have wrestled.”

Herrera was the only South Tahoe wrestler to place at the state meet, taking third at 170 pounds. He beat Spring Creek’s Masin Goodell 6-5 in the third-place match to win a medal for the second straight year and improve on a fourth-place finish as a freshman.

“He improved on last year — as a sophomore he has done really well,” Griffis said.

“They all wrestled the best they could have wrestled.”Sean GriffisSTHS wrestling head coach

Herrera advanced to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Billy Bigelow of Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas, Nev.) via first-period pin. In his opening match, Herrera survived an 18-10 shootout against Cache Burnside of Virgin Valley (Mesquite, Nev.).

“It was all over the place — his opponent was long, lanky and really strong, and it was a wild match,” Griffis said.

In the consolation bracket, Herrera won twice via decision to capture third place. He earned a spot in the third-place match by beating Sam Tucsnak of Pahrump Valley (Pahrump, Nev.) 5-4 in his first consolation match.

“After he lost, he just went right through — he was never in danger in the consolation round,” Griffis said.

South Tahoe senior James Sorensen fell one match shy of placing in the 132-pound weight class, losing to Spring Creek’s Tristan Fordin in a thriller decided in the first tiebreaker round. Sorensen and Fordin were tied 2-2 after regulation and two overtime periods — in the first 30-second tiebreaker round, Fordin pulled away for a 6-2 win.

“That was one of the best matches of his career,” Griffis said.

Sorensen pinned Virgin Valley’s Domingo Ramirez in 40 seconds in his opening match. In the semifinals, he fell to Lowry’s Gabe Molina by major decision 12-3 — the eventual champion wore him down late in the match to pull away.

Vikings junior Michael Valney picked up one win in the 126-pound weight class, finishing just outside a top-four spot. After losing his opener to Miguel Guerra of Chaparral (Las Vegas, Nev.) 10-2, Valney pinned Gabe Camacho of Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.) six seconds into the third round to advance in the consolation bracket.

“He had a good tournament — things just didn’t go his way this time,” Griffis said.

With a spot in the third-place match on the line, Valney lost an 8-1 decision to Collin Fox of Boulder City (Nev.). Valney was making his second state tournament appearance in three seasons.

STHS senior Miguel Leon left the state meet without a victory in a challenging 182-pound weight class. In his first match, Leon was pinned 37 seconds into the second round by Jorge Magana of Desert Pines (Las Vegas, Nev.) — in the consolation bracket, he was eliminated by Boulder City’s Nelson Vandiest 7-4.

“He wrestled hard, but he was up against some tough competition — he had some tough kids in his weight class,” Griffis said.

South Tahoe senior Blair Binns only had the chance to wrestle in one match at in the 195-pound class after a migraine forced him to forfeit prior to the first consolation round. In his opening match, Binns was pinned in the first round by eventual champion Jaxon Clayton of Pahrump Valley.

“He came out too aggressive and got caught,” Griffis said.

Ten minutes before his consolation match was scheduled to start, Binns suffered a migraine that affected his vision and balance. The symptoms were so severe that he couldn’t continue in the tournament.

“He couldn’t wrestle — he lost some vision and had no balance,” Griffis said. “We tried to drill with him to see where he was at, and he just couldn’t defend himself — we couldn’t let him go on.

“It was really hard for him — he was excited to make it to this tournament.”

Pahrump Valley won the overall team title with 124 points, finishing 14 points ahead of runner-up Lowry. Southern schools produced nine individual champions, compared to five for the North.

“Everybody in there was good — there was nobody soft in any of the brackets and everybody was top notch,” Griffis said.

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