Vikes’ state hopes begin, end with Ross |

Vikes’ state hopes begin, end with Ross

Before every match, South Tahoe High wrestler Cavin Ross goes through his usual warm-ups.

A slap to his leg. Then to his arms. Next, his chest. And then his face.

Pre-match routine or the telltale signs of an adolescent masochist?

Probably the first one.

“It sort of fires me up and gets me in the right mood to wrestle,” said Ross, the Vikings’ lone representative at this weekend’s Nevada state wrestling tournament in Elko. “It’s sort of become a habit before a match.”

Ross would also like to start a habit of making state tournament appearances. Competing at the 103-pound weight class, Ross will have a shot at going up against some of Nevada’s best this weekend.

And winning, if you ask Cavin.

“I am going to get first. I want to win,” Ross said. “I’m going to try to be as aggressive as I can. Sometimes, I’ll wait for (my opponent) to shoot, but this time I’m going to do it right away, take him down and put him on his back. Whatever it takes.”

Ross is what you might call an athlete’s athlete. He practices hard. He welcomes brutal conditioning. He trains year-round, plays in three varsity sports and competes in a number of off-season wrestling tournaments. And, as the sophomore captain of a relatively inexperienced Viking team, he is respected by both teammates and coaches alike.

“Cavin is not only a great wrestler, but a great example of dedication and what it takes to win at this sport,” said South Tahoe coach Tom Barnes, who along with assistant Dennis Romero will accompany Ross to the Elko tournament. “He competes in different formats just about year-round, and it shows.”

Ross started wrestling competitively in the seventh grade and quickly found a niche in the sport. By his eighth-grade year, he would practice with the South Tahoe high school team two days a week. Ross soon found himself wrestling at freestyle and Greco-Roman style tournaments with coach Dave Borges of the South Tahoe Wrestling Club. And doing well at that.

“I don’t think I really liked it too much when I started,” said Ross, who will face the 4A South Division’s top-seeded wrestler in his first-round match Friday.

Ross competed in last year’s zone tournament, but did not advance into the meet’s later rounds or qualify for state. This season, Ross has been the bright spot in an otherwise difficult season for South Tahoe, compiling a 26-14 individual record. The Vikings, undermanned and inexperienced, did not win a single dual meet all season and struggled to remain competitive with more technically sound and mature Nevada schools.

As the team’s only state entrant, it would be easy for Ross to feel some pressure to do well.

Or not.

“No, I don’t feel the pressure,” Ross said flatly. “You would think I would, but I don’t.”

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