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Indians go 7-1 at Fallon Duals

ELKO – In their competitions of the wrestling season, the Elko Indians’ varsity wrestlers finished with a 7-1 record at the Fallon duals – losing 53-27 with a 5-8 record Tuesday in Battle Mountain against the Longhorns.

Fallon Duals

At the opening matches of the year, the Elko “A” team finished with a 7-1 head-to-head record against its opponents.

Individually, the Indians were by led three wrestlers who each finished with 7-1 marks in their respective matches.

Junior Carl Hansen recorded a team-best six of his victories (7-1) by way of pins, notching seven takedowns in the 170-pound weight class.

Senior Byron Hansen also finished with a 7-1 record in the heavyweight division of 285 pounds, tallying four wins with pins and closing with two takedowns.

The other Elko wrestler who recorded a 7-1 start to the season was promising freshman Darin LeGrand.

LeGrand tallied three takedowns and won two of his matches with pin victories at 195 pounds.

Freshman Zeth Kinterknecht made a solid showing in the first varsity action of his career, serving as one of five Elko wrestlers who finished with 6-2 records.

Kinterknecht tallied double-digit takedowns with 10, closing with three victories by pinfall at 113 pounds.

Junior Ezekial Stewart (6-2) nailed down five victories with pins at 160 pounds, adding six takedowns in the process.

Senior Josh Bouldard’s 6-2 record was due in large part to closing the duals with nine takedowns, finishing with two pinfall wins.

At 132 pounds, junior Daniel Allen tallied a record of 6-2.

He closed the duals with three wins by pins and made three takedowns.

Junior Shawn Nakamura’s record of 6-2 at 120 pounds included three wins by pinfall, closing with two takedowns.

Two members of Elko’s “A” team finished with 5-3 marks.

Senior Kevin Villegas, the 2016 state champion and 2017 state runner-up, faced stiff competition while finishing 5-3 at 138 pounds.

His losses came in close decisions, but Villegas led the Indians with 15 takedowns in the duals.

Three of Villegas’ five victories came by pinfall.

At 220 pounds, junior Luis Garcia also went 5-3.

He notched seven takedowns and won a match with a pin.

The only other full-time member of Elko’s “A” team who finished with a winning record was junior Chris Meza, who closed with a 4-3 record at 152 pounds, winning three matches with pins.

Meza closed the duals with two takedowns.

Battle Mountain

The head-to-head matches Tuesday against Battle Mountain resulted in a common outcome for the most part – pin or be pinned.

The Longhorns defeated the Indians by nearly a double-up margin of 53-27, the Indians going 5-8 while Battle Mountain closed 8-5.

Of Elko’s five wins, two came by forfeit – awarded to senior Bryce Howard at 152 pounds and Kinterknecht at 113 pounds.

Carl Hansen wasted little time to notch a pinfall victory in his 170-pound match, going just 29 seconds.

Byron Hansen went into the third round of his heavyweight match before earning a pin, closing the show at the 3:06 mark.

Elko’s lone victory by decision came by Villegas at 138 pounds, winning by a final score of 5-1.

The Indians will be back on the mat Friday and Saturday at the Cody Louk Invitational, hosted by Lowry High School, in Winnemucca.


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Silver State cowboys go for gold at WNFR

ELKO – December has come, the bright lights of Vegas are set and the top-15 competitors in the world standings in each event of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association are ready to roll in the biggest rodeo of the year – the Wrangler Nationals Rodeo.

Four cowboys with strong Nevada ties had seasons successful enough to be ranked among the best world in their respective events: Elko steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge, Fallon heeler Jade Corkill, Gardnerville bareback rider Wyatt Denny and calf roper Matt Shiozawa of Chubbock, Idaho.

The Silver State will be well-represented in the WNFR, but the color the cowboys are chasing is gold – gold buckles.

Dakota Eldridge

The qualification in the steer wrestling makes five in a row for Eldridge, who enters the WNFR in 10th place in the PRCA world standings with a total of $80,980 in winnings during the 2017 season.

Eldridge did the bulk of his damage early in the season, tailing off in his go-to event during the home stretch of the year.

One of his most significant performances of the season came in the Silver State, taking home the steer wrestling and all-around titles on June 24 in the Reno Rodeo – winning $10,333 during the rodeo.

His second-place run of 4.3 seconds in the short round ($1,164) solidified his average victory with a total time of 13.4 seconds on three runs ($6,142), adding to his second-place effort of 4.2 seconds in the second go ($3,027).

He has a long way to climb in the chase for a world championship, trailing current No. 1 ($163,151) by $82,171.

However, anything can happen at the WNFR – especially given the increased payout of the rodeo compared to years past.

Each of the 10 go-rounds at the WNFR pays $26,230.77; the WFNR average winner will collect a check for $67,269.23.

While virtually impossible when competing against the top-15 in the world, a cowboy can potentially win $329,576.93 in one event at the WNFR.

Eldridge will ride a tried-and-true mount at the WNFR, his 18-year-old sorrel gelding Rusty.

“Rusty is good. He always works and he’s healthy,” Eldridge said.

During the season, Eldridge progressively gave more runs to his backup horse, Cruiser, saving Rusty for the big dance.

Eldridge has had plenty of success at the WNFR before, claiming the average title in 2015 on his way to a runner-up finish for the world title.

Wyatt Denny

Minden native Wyatt Denny knocked down his second WNFR qualification in as many years, entering the 2017 finals in a much better position.

He snuck into his first WNFR on Sept. 30, 2016, stealing the 15th and final position on the last day of the regular season.

Jump 10 spots.

This time around, Denny finds himself in fifth place in the world standings with a total of $109,353.

The most noteworthy fact of Denny’s season is that he won nearly half of his yearly total at one rodeo.

On July 24, Denny captured first place in the Gold Medal round of the Days of ’47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City, scratching the spurs to the horse Diamond Hope for 88 points and a $50,000 payday.

Defending world champion Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa, has shown no signs of a defending-season hangover – blasting out to a huge lead with $201,915 in earnings during the regular season.

Jade Corkill

Don’t look back.

The top half of the pack in the team roping better not let off the gas, or they may catch a glimpse of someone coming up quickly in the rear view mirror.

Fallon heeler Jade Corkill’s ninth WNFR qualification was probably his most trying and stressful of all, including dating back to his first appearances.

The three-time world champion (2012, 2013 and 2014), did not compete in PRCA events in 2016, instead roping in the now defunct Elite Rodeo Association.

The ERA cowboys are back and should provide some electricity to the bright lights of Vegas.

Corkill and partner Clay Tryan got off to a slow start during the 2017 season – not reaching the top-15 until late in the year – but the duo has hit full throttle and climbed to ninth in the world standings, each man winning $81,383.

The team roping should prove to be the tightest race of all events at the WNFR, leaders Kaleb Driggers ($133,977) and Junior Nogueria ($134,707) holding a lead of less than $1,000 over second-place Erich Rogers’ and Cory Petska’s total of $133,711 apiece.

There are no safe leads in the team roping, the top-15 separated by $66,702.

Last season, current No. 15 heeler Jeremy Buhler climbed from 14th to the world championship with partner Levi Simpson.

Simpson finished the 2017 season in 16th place on the headers’ side, missing the WNFR by one spot.

Buhler won the same amount of money as Simpson ($68,005), but Buhler finished in 15th in the heeling standings, notching the final WFNR position.

He will likely rope with header Tom Richards ($81,415 in eighth), who competed with heeler Kyle Lockett ($61,745).

Lockett finished the regular season in 17th place and two spots out of a WNFR position.

Matt Shiozawa

How about knocking down a decade’s worth of trips to Vegas?

He will make his 10th appearance in the WNFR.

Shiozawa has finished as the runner-up for the tie-down roping world championship twice (2006, 2011), winning the average of the WNFR in 2011.

He enters in ninth place in the world standings, totaling $93,363.

Three-time (2011, 2012 and 2014) world champion Tuf Cooper of Weatherford, Texas, is currently first in the world with $190,444 in winnings during the regular season.

“I rode Gray Pony (gelding) at the circuit finals. He is working really well and I think he’s my No. 1 for the NFR,” Shiozawa said. “Plan ‘B’ will be my bay mare Alotta.”

Congratulations to Dakota Eldridge, Matt Shiozawa, Wyatt Denny and Jade Corkill for earning qualifications to the Super Bowl of rodeo.

Good luck to all in the upcoming Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at Thomas & Mack Center, running from Thursday through Dec. 16 in Las Vegas.

The WNFR will air live at 7 p.m. nightly for all 10 nights on CBS Sports Network, Channel 158 on Dish Network and Channel 221 on DirecTV.


Sports
Thybulle scores 19 as Washington stuns No. 2 Kansas, 74-65

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Matisse Thybulle hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points, Jaylen Nowell added 15 and Washington led most of the way in upsetting second-ranked Kansas 74-65 on Wednesday night.

Noah Dickerson added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Huskies (7-2), who knocked the Jayhawks (7-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten with their first victory over them since December 1974.

Lagerald Vick had a career-high 28 points for Kansas, doing almost all his damage in the middle of the Huskies’ 2-3 zone. But he didn’t get a whole lot of help as the Jayhawks went 5 for 20 from the 3-point arc, lowlighted by lousy performances from sharpshooters Devonte Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk.

Graham, coming off back-to-back 35-point outbursts, was held to three points on 1-for-8 shooting, while Mykhailiuk was 3 for 12 from the field and scored eight points before fouling out.

The Jayhawks should have been prepared for Washington coach Mike Hopkins’ zone defense, considering he spent 22 years on Jim Boeheim’s staff at Syracuse and Kansas had recently beaten the Orange.

And in truth, the Jayhawks had little trouble getting Vick open shots in the middle of the zone.

They just weren’t falling most of the night.

Throw in foul trouble that sent the Jayhawks’ two big men, Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot, to the bench well before halftime and it was no surprise the Huskies took a 36-34 lead into the break.

Washington kept the pressure on early in the second half, pushing its lead to 52-44 with 12:10 left in the game, before the Jayhawks finally turned up the defensive intensity. Vick got going again inside and Azubuike’s slam of an alley-oop pass trimmed their deficit to 53-52 with 9 1/2 minutes to go.

The Huskies calmed back down after a timeout, though, stretching their lead again. Thybulle got loose for a transition dunk, Dickerson added a slam of his own, and Hameir Wright’s 3-pointer from the wing made it 69-56 — their biggest lead to that point.

Even when the Jayhawks caught a break, like a technical foul on David Crisp in the closing minutes, they couldn’t capitalize. Graham missed both free throws with a chance to cut into a 73-59 deficit, and Mykhailiuk proceeded to a miss a 3-point attempt as the Huskies put the game away.

BIG PICTURE

Washington sure didn’t look like the team that struggled to put away Seattle, California-Davis and Omaha in recent weeks. The Huskies were clearly amped up to play the first of back-to-back games against premier programs with Gonzaga on deck next.

Kansas might want to reconsider games at Sprint Center. While the Jayhawks like giving their guys a taste of the building where the Big 12 Tournament is played, it comes at the expense of a massive homecourt advantage in Allen Fieldhouse. Plus, they were bounced by TCU in the tournament quarterfinals last year, then lost to Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament a couple weeks later.

UP NEXT

Washington begins a four-game home stand with No. 12 Gonzaga on Sunday night.

Kansas welcomes No. 16 Arizona State to Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday.