South Tahoe Viking wrestlers start season strong
After two weeks of competition, the South Tahoe Vikings wrestling team boasts a 9-3 dual record and a seventh-place finish at the Cody Louk Invitation in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Senior 152-pounder Jakob Costley and junior Jose Leon (182) both took home silver medals on Saturday, Dec. 9, while senior heavyweight Kyle Leake finished his day in fourth place. Leon, last year’s state runner-up, paces the team with 12 wins to his name already.
“Jose can handle a larger workload than any kid I have ever coached,” said Vikings assistant coach Ryan Wallace. “He excels in all areas of life. We all benefit from his drive to win a state title.”
Leon is no stranger to the podium, but Leake and Costley both earned the first medals of their respective wrestling careers.
Leake’s weekend was highlighted by a come-from-behind upset victory over No. 2 seed Austin Moen, of Spanish Springs.
Not to be outdone, Costley also pinned Spanish Springs’ Patrick Nelson, who went on to take fifth.
“In the room, Kyle has looked impressive, but it would have been a stretch to predict how successful he was this weekend,” Wallace said. “Costley is a different kind of athlete. He is stronger, faster and more determined than anyone he matches up with.”
“Coaches yell at me if I quit in a match, so I decided not to give up even though I was super tired,” Leake said.
The seventh-place finish and the dual wins are not just a product of the Vikings top producers, but they are getting contributions from everyone in the line-up. Sophomores Gavin Breen (7-8), Josh Bracket (9-5) and Nate Singelyn (8-8) have all taken significant steps forward off of successful freshmen campaigns. Perhaps the biggest boost to the team is the emergence of Derek Robbins, a freshman that has 11 wins on the season.
“Derek is another guy who has looked great in practice; we love it when good practice habits translate to strong performances against more experienced competitors,” Wallace said.
This Viking team has the appearance and feel of a team ready to make some noise in the post-season.
“Winning is fun, however, at this stage, we are keeping our heads down and moving forward, focused only on developing successful habits,” Wallace said. “We’ll look up and see the path we’ve plowed in February.”