ELKO – In the final touchup before the Division 3A North regional tournament, the Elko wrestling team vied for seeding at the Division 3A North league duals in Fernley.
The Indians closed with a 5-3 record, several grapplers performing to great heights.
Elko’s victories came against Dayton, Sparks, Truckee, South Tahoe and Fallon.
The Indians lost closely to Fernley but were handled easily by Lowry and defending state champion Spring Creek.
Elko rolled to a 72-6 victory over Dayton, beating the Railroaders of Sparks by a closer score of 47-22.
The Indians opened a 72-point margin of victory over Truckee, beating the Wolverines 78-6.
Elko’s 48-30 loss to Fernley was a narrow one, the Indians giving away 12 points through two forfeits and the matches playing out evenly – each school winning seven battles against the other.
However, the Vaqueros’ wins came by pins the majority of the time.
“We were getting three points for decisions and they were getting six points for pins in our defeats,” said Elko assistant coach Luke Sellers. “It’s like in football, we were kicking field goals and they were scoring touchdowns.”
The Indians lost by a wide margin to Lowry, falling 63-15.
Elko rebounded with a 48-27 victory over South Tahoe, but was blasted in its most lopsided defeat to Spring Creek – the Spartans chewing up the Indians by a final tally of 69-6.
After graduation many of its state-quality wrestlers last season, the Indians defeated defending state runner-up Fallon by a score of 54-21.
Former 113-pound state champion and 2017 state runner-up at 126 pounds, Elko senior Kevin Villegas rolled to an 8-0 record in the duals with three pins.
He will be the No. 1 wrestler in the 126-pound division for the regional tournament.
Junior Carl Hansen, who has been on a major streak for the Indians, went 7-1 with three victories by pinfall in Fernley – his only loss coming to an unexpected opponent by a slim margin.
The Greenwave moved 160-pound junior and two-time running state champion Sean McCormick to the 170-pound class for the league duals.
McCormick built a slim lead in the early going, but Hansen made an escape and earned a big and rare takedown against McCormick – Hansen nearly awarded two points for a near-fall at separate times with McCormick on his back.
However, as he was trying to go for another throw – Hansen was called for stalling on two occasions.
McCormick was awarded two points for the stalls and earned another in an escape, defeating Hansen 6-3 in a test that he has not seen in quite some time.
Fallon has elected to move McCormick back to the 160-pound class for the regional tournament, rather than having him try to potentially beat Hansen two or three times.
Returning from a knee injury, senior Byron Hansen finished with a 5-1 record in the 285-pound heavyweight class, closing with two wins by pinfall.
Three Elko wrestlers closed with 6-2 records: junior Shawn Nakamura, senior Josh Boulard and freshman Lincoln Ratliff.
Of Boulard’s six wins at 145 pounds, three came by pinfall.
Nakamura also tallied three victories by pin against two defeats in the 113-pound division, and Ratliff tallied two pinfall victories in his six wins at 138 pounds.
Freshman Darin Legrand spearheaded a duo of Elko wrestlers who closed with 5-3 records, pinning two of his 182-pound opponents.
Junior Gabriel Cortez also closed with a 5-3 record in the league duals, closing with one victory by pinfall at 195 pounds.
At 152 pounds, junior Ezekial Stewart finished with a winning mark of 4-3, pinning one opponent.
Weigh-ins for the Division 3A North regional tournament will take place at 2 p.m. Friday at Spring Creek High School, followed by a coaches meeting.
The wrestling will begin at 4 p.m. Friday.
Day-two action will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday, the top-three finishers in each weight class from the North advancing to the state tournament – which will include the top-five wrestlers in each division from the South.
The Division 3A Nevada State Wrestling Championships will take place Feb. 9 at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.