Vikings get healthy just in time for regional tourney
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
The timing couldn’t be better for South Tahoe High to compete in the Northern 4A regional wrestling tournament.
The Vikings are healthy and rested for the two-day tournament that begins today at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks.
“Nobody’s sick or injured and this week we’ve been able to rest the arms, backs and knees and we’re coming in as strong as we have all season,” said STHS first-year head coach Ryan Wallace.
Twelve Vikings will compete at regionals, with only the top three finishers in each weight class advancing to next week’s state tournament in Las Vegas.
“This is the best shot we’ve had,” Wallace said. “There are a lot kids who are wrestling hard and doing the extra stuff that it takes.
“I would be surprised if we sent less than a handful of kids (to state).”
Mike Crouse, a 112-pound junior, was the only Viking to advance to state a year ago. Crouse, however, has been injured most of the season and will have to shake off the rust in a hurry to return to state. A dislocated shoulder and a sore back have limited Crouse to a 2-1 record.
“I still think he’s one of the strongest guys at that weight,” Wallace said. “He’s wrestled a long time, and I think that he has enough experience to overcome (his few matches).”
Junior Lee Williams (135), senior Brandon Johns (145), junior Elliot Pekar (152), junior Anthony Barton (160), junior Miles Wallace (171) are legitimate contenders in their respective weight classes.
Williams has a 19-5 record, while Johns went undefeated in four Sierra Division matches and compiled an overall record of 24-8.
Pekar and Miles Wallace both narrowly missed going to state last year, finishing fourth. Pekar has a 17-6 season record, and Miles Wallace has earned the team’s best record at 30-4.
Freshman Jeff Valeny (10-6) will join Crouse in the 112-pound class. In addition, junior D.J. Slater will compete at 119 pounds, freshman Paul Hubble at 125, senior Ismael Mora at 130 and freshman Chris Ewing at 189.
“Chris is a real tough kid and he’s got a chance to do pretty good in a hard weight class as a freshman. I have no doubts he is going to be a state champion before he leaves,” Wallace said.
First-round action begins today at 4 p.m., followed by consolation matches at 6 p.m. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and finals are tentatively set for 5 p.m. Saturday.
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