Three Vikes place in Randy Couch tourney |

Three Vikes place in Randy Couch tourney

Michael Traum

Three South Tahoe High wrestlers finished in the top four to lead the Vikings to a seventh-place finish at the Randy Couch Memorial Tournament on Saturday at South Tahoe High.

Senior Matt Barton led the charge, losing in the heavyweight championship match by a pin to the eventual upper-weight most valuable wrestler, Carson’s Tim Baker.

“He has shown constant improvement through the last two years,” said Viking coach Tom Barnes of Barton. “I’m very satisfied that through the course of the tournament he utilized moves that he’s worked on during the last two seasons and won commensurately.”

Juniors Mike Downey and Steve Hook rounded out the Viking places with a pair of fourths in the 171- and 135-pound classes, respectively.

“Mike Downey had a great tournament and is making improvement happen continually,” said Barnes, who also credited Hook while noting the entire team’s improvement. “I’m very encouraged and happy that we’re starting to place in tournaments and our wrestlers are enjoying themselves.”

Downey’s match particularly exemplified Tahoe’s ongoing burgeoning success. He came within literal inches on scoring a reversal as time expired in a back-and-forth 8-7 decision loss. Downey was pinned the last time he faced the same opponent.

“There coach came up to me after the match and said he thought I did a good job. It’s nice to see I’m continually getting better,” Downey said.

In the team category, South Tahoe ended up seventh out of eight teams. Originally scheduled as a 10-team affair, Bear River and Battle Mountain chose not to attend. Carson’s “A” team was first with 213 points, followed by McQueen 169, Las Lomas 124, Galena, 99, Reno 74, Fallon 64, South Tahoe 58 and Carson “B” 21.

Despite the eight-team field, tournament director Mike Noble said he’s looking forward to continuing the tradition.

“We’d certainly like to see it come back to be a larger tournament. We’ve got to look at some of the changes made recently, such as costs, and see if they’re things that can be fixed,” Noble said. “In memory of Randy, we’re going on 25 years. We’d like to see it stay.”

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