Viking grapplers end three-year losing streak |

Viking grapplers end three-year losing streak

David Gignilliat

Every great journey begins with a single step.

The South Tahoe High wrestling team took one of those steps Wednesday, picking up a 42-42 tie against Douglas while falling to Carson 73-6 at a home dual meet.

The tie against the Tigers was the Vikings first nonloss in nearly three years of competition. Despite winning six matches on forfeits, the tie still is significant to South Tahoe.

“We feel really good about tying Douglas,” said Vikes wrestling coach Tom Barnes, whose squad is centered around mostly freshmen and sophomores. “A tie is just as good as a win at this point.”

The highlight of the Douglas-South Tahoe contest came in the meet’s first match, with Viking Wayne Lucero and Tiger Alan Andersen squaring off at the 103-pound weight class. Lucero, down 11-5 in points and nearly pinned early in the third period, turned the tide late in the match with a key reversal to set up a pin with 1:37 remaining.

“Wayne is a very aggressive, wiry athlete who persevered out there and picked up the win,” said Barnes, who is in his third year at the Viking helm and is intent on returning a winning wrestling tradition to the school.

Lucero’s victory proved to be South Tahoe’s only victory among four contested matches. At the 119-pound weight class, Douglas wrestler Dart Johnson pinned South Tahoe’s Johnny Ramirez 41 seconds into the final period. Tiger Mark Magee used three near falls, a reversal and a takedown to force Viking Galen Breisacher’s back to the mat with 1:13 remaining in the 135-pound weight class. At 160 pounds, Douglas grappler Drew Hall began the second period with a reversal and ended it with a pin against Tahoe’s Matt MacGuffin. The last match between the two schools resulted in another Tigers win as Kenny Moore pinned South Tahoe’s Ascension Gonzalez at the 171-pound weight class.

The Vikings were simply overmatched in the second half of the meet against Carson. The Senators squad, replete with 1998 state finishers, dominated nearly every match with an efficient, workmanlike precision. Carson won 10 of 11 contested matchups, many on first-period pins.

Sophomore captain Cavin Ross scored the Vikings’ only win with a come-from-behind effort in the 112-pound weight class against Carson’s Craig Jensen. Trailing with the clock running out, Ross knew something had to give.

“I knew I was down by one (in the third), so I knew I had to go for the pin,” said Ross, who also competes nationally in freestyle and Greco-Roman events. “I turned (Jensen) over and used an arm-and-head (maneuver) to get him on his back and set up the pin.”

Despite the lopsided defeat, Barnes is pleased with where his team’s journey is heading.

“We’ve got a very young club,” said Barnes, whose school will host the Randy Couch Memorial Tournament on Jan. 16. “We’ve put this team on the map from nothing. I’m proud of the guys because we’re starting from scratch here.”

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