South Tahoe wrestler splits state championship matches
South Tahoe High junior Cavin Ross couldn’t bring the state wrestling championship back from Las Vegas, but returned Sunday with a medal, a broken nose – and even more experience.
Ross, the lone wrestler to represent his team at the 2000 NIAA/U.S. Bank State Wrestling Championships on Friday and Saturday at Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas, returned to South Lake Tahoe with a fourth-place medal and a 25-2 record. He entered the tournament’s eight-man draw with a 23-0 record and the top seed from the Northern zone, then split his four matches in Las Vegas.
“Next year, I’d go out there as hard as I could, try to win, try not to get (so) overly aggressive so I don’t use my head,” said Ross, who also wrestled at state last year in the 103-pound class.
“I know I could’ve done better, but that’s life,” he said. “This year was a pretty good year, so I’m definitely happy about that. I pretty much saw this year as a learning year.”
That learning continued at state. Ross downed Curtis Johnson of Cimarron in the first round. In the second match, Ross took eventual state runner-up Alan McIver to overtime before McIver beat him in the fourth period to send Ross into the consolation bracket. Ross broke his nose in that match, but came back to wrestle two more. He called his third match, a 16-3 decision over Northern zone foe Justin Carter of McQueen, his best.
“He usually does pretty well against me, but I did better against him,” Ross said of Carter. “I guess I tried a little harder. I got into a little zone.”
In the third-place match, Johnson came back to pin Ross in the fourth period. Ross was leading 5-3 with his coaches telling him to be more aggressive when Johnson countered Ross’s attack for the pin.
“He was in every single one of those matches that he wrestled, so we were actually pretty pleased with his performance,” said South Tahoe head coach Tom Barnes.
Rancho’s Jered Medina downed McIver 13-3 in the championship match to win the Nevada 119-pound title. Ross had targeted a state championship – which would have allowed him to retain a perfect record – but knew the competition from Southern Nevada would be stiff.
However, he has made significant strides in technique this year, maturing as a wrestler.
“This year, I’m actually listening,” Ross said. “I think everyone hits a maturity point where they want to learn, and that’s when they get good.”
The South Tahoe program continued to grow under Barnes. The school couldn’t always fill its weight classes and didn’t win a dual match in the Northern Nevada 4A, but drew and retained more wrestlers. Barnes also planned to use the weekend’s state experience as a stepping stone.
“The program is growing, and again we’re very pleased with our program,” said Barnes, who added he learned a lot from the state’s powers at the state meet.
If South Tahoe’s program can continue along that path, Ross might not be the only Viking in Vegas next season.
“It’d be a lot more fun,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to people going down with me next year.”
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