Vikings well-classified for zone |

Vikings well-classified for zone

Steve Yingling, Tribune Sports Editor

For the second straight season South Tahoe High wrestling coaches Jack Lopez and Jim Kruk need a bus to transport their regional tournament qualifiers.

Fourteen Vikings are scheduled to compete in the regional tournament Friday and Saturday at Galena High in Reno.

“We finished the season with close to 30 kids and we’re taking all 14 weight classes, which a lot of schools in our league have between six to eight kids,” Lopez said.

Even though the Vikings are well-armed for zone, they may be a year or two away from having a wrestler who is a legitimate contender for a zone championship.

However, Lopez thinks heavyweight David Vasquez and 130-pounder Kyle Crouse are capable of qualifying for the Feb. 15-16 state tournament in Las Vegas. The top five placers in each week class advance to state.

Vasquez is unbeaten in six Sierra League matches and brings a 30-10 overall record into zone.

“He’s tough on his feet and he’s matured a lot,” Lopez said. “He’s put in the time, and if you put in the time, you get good.”

But Vasquez hasn’t been as dominant against heavyweights from the other division.

“In my estimation heavyweight is the toughest weight class,” Lopez said. “Usually the brackets aren’t full and there’s a lot of big guys who wrestle on the varsity level this year.”

Like Vasquez, Crouse (20-13) has also put in the time, and his record reflects his work ethic.

“Both Kyler and David continue to wrestle right after our high school season is done,” said Lopez, referring to his two wrestlers’ commitment to the South Tahoe Wrestling Club.

Rusty Faulkner, who wrestles at 112, is the only other Viking nearing 20 wins for the season. Faulkner brings 19 wins into zone, but he is questionable because of a torn shoulder muscle.

“If we put two wrestlers in the state meet, it would really make our season,” Lopez said. “We don’t have a runaway stud who you know is going to be there. We’re grinding it out.”

The 14-team tournament starts at 2 p.m. Friday with two rounds of competition and a consolation round. Action resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday, with finals set for 4 p.m.

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