Vikings nearly topple Northern champ in season opener
Trailing 27-33 with two wrestlers to go, South Tahoe for a moment got a glimpse at what it might be like to beat the defending 4A Northern Region champion Tigers.
South Tahoe sophomore Nick Naccarato had just pinned Douglas’ Austin Beemer with 19 seconds remaining in the second round. Beemer than threw his headset into his team’s bench, causing the referree to deduct one point from Douglas’ team score.
Another South Tahoe pin would have tied the league-opening match Wednesday at South Tahoe High School, and that fact was whispered among the crowd, prompting those screaming encouragment to do so a few decibels louder.
Douglas, who at one time led 28-6, was suddenly on the defensive.
But a regional championship team doesn’t go down that quickly, even if it is missing three varsity wrestlers due to injury, ineligibility and blowing the weight limit.
In the 130-pound class, Douglas’ Bradley Johnson swept Cooper Merchant 1:15 seconds in the second period and held him to the mat for a pin, pushing the Tigers’ lead to 12 and beyond the Viking’s reach.
Then, Jesse Premo, in the 135-pound class, closed the match by pinning Jared Freeny 1:06 into the first period to end the match and put Douglas on top 45-27.
“I was fairly satisfied,” said head coach Jack Lopez. “We have some young kids wrestling varsity. Some of the kids that were pinned, this is there first match, and a lot of matches were close.”
Only one returning Viking wrestler gave up a pin.
“They’re better, but we’re going to be competitive,” Lopez said.
Roger Petterson (140) started off the night defeating Josh Reeder to give Douglas a 3-0 lead.
Ryan Andrews (145) pinned Josh Hintze less than a minute into the first round to put the Vikings on top 6-3.
After A.J. Reed (152) defeated Kyler Crousing, tying the match at 6-6, the Tigers’ next three wrestlers, Ray Gabriel (160), Grant Hall (171) and Dan Molina (189) pinned their opponents.
The Tigers’ wrapped up one more 4-point victory in the 215-pound class before heavyweight David Vasquez (275) pinned Daw McDonald, cutting the Tigers’ lead to 16.
Garret Gibb (103) earned South Tahoe 3 points over Brian Kaplan. Rusty Faulkner (112) pinnned Douglas’ Josh Newman, and Douglas’ Matt Yaquinto (119) pinned Ryan Buchan in the first round.
“We did some inexperienced things tonight. But, it’s the first match of the year …” said two-year head Douglas coach Mike Gamberg. “I definitely would like to have done better. South Tahoe wrestled really well … I don’t want to diminish anything they did, but I’m (peeved) right now.”
Douglas finsished first runner up in regular season play play in 2001 at 5-1 and 10-4 overall.
They edged out Churchill County by nine points to take the 4A Regional Championship with 179.5 points.
South Tahoe finished 11th place in zone with 28 points and fourth in Sierral League play at 3-3.
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