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Kinterknecht wins regional title
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Kinterknecht wins regional title

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Noah Chacon

Elko's Noah Chacon, bottom, sprawls against a South Tahoe opponent during the Division 3A North regional wrestling tournament at Sparks High School. Chacon won the consolation bracket and finished with a 4-1 record with two wins by fall, placing third in the 132-pound division. He was one of seven Elko wrestlers who qualified for the Division 3A Nevada State Wrestling Championships, which begin at 4 p.m. Friday, at Virgin Valley High School.

SPARKS — Of 15 wrestlers, Elko qualified nearly half of its roster for the Division 3A state tournament and crowned a regional champion.

During the Division 3A North regional tourney, the Indians finished in fourth place with a team score of 139 points — sending seven wrestlers to state — closing 3.5 points behind third-place Fernley.

Elko was paced by a regional title from junior Zeth Kinterknecht in the 120-pound division, posting a 4-0 record with three wins by fall.

In the championship, he notched an 8-3 decision over Spring Creek junior Aiden Painter.

Regional Runner-Up

Behind Kinterknecht’s regional crown, the Indians also gained a runner-up performance from freshman Craig Slater.

Competing in the 106-pound class, Slater tallied a 3-1 record with two wins by fall.

His lone loss came in the championship round, dropping an 8-4 decision to Spring Creek freshman Colton Browne.

Consolation Champions

The Indians mounted three consolation champions in their respective divisions.

Elko’s first third-place wrestler came in the form of sophomore Noah Chacon, who posted a 4-1 record at 132 pounds.

After losing his first match to North Valleys’ Joaquin Arevalo by a 9-3 decision, Chacon finished the tournament with four-consecutive wins — including two by fall — avenging his only loss and earning a 10-6 decision in the consolation final against Arevalo.

Junior Darin Legrand took third place in the 220-pound class with a 1-1 record.

He was pinned in his first match at the 2:51 mark by Spring Creek senior Hunter Hood, but Legrand bounced back with a 12-3, major-decision win over Truckee’s Kevin Castellanos in the consolation championship.

Elko locked down consecutive consolation titles in the 285-pound class, senior Gabe Lozano going 3-1 with a win by fall.

Lozano lost his second match by fall in 2:50 versus Lowry’s Shane Mattson, but he responded with consecutive victories — earning the consolation championship with a narrow, 3-1 win in sudden victory with a takedown in overtime against Spring Creek senior Nick Ortega.

Fourth-Place Qualifiers

A pair of Elko grapplers punched the fourth and final tickets to state in consecutive divisions.

At 113 pounds, freshman Titan Kennedy went 3-2 with two pins.

Kennedy lost his second match by fall in just 27 seconds versus North Valleys’ Adrian Ruscetta but followed with consecutive victories, none more important than is 4-2 decision over Lowry’s Morgan Zolyniak in the consolation semifinal.

The victory booked Kennedy’s berth in the state tourney, but he dropped his consolation final by fall in two minutes — losing to Ruscetta for the second time.

Sophomore Blaze Jones gave the Indians a pair of qualifications in the 120-pound division — joining Kinterknecht — notching a 3-2 record and two wins by fall with another by major decision.

He had to come back early after 3-0 loss to Painter in his first match.

Jones defeated North Valleys’ Alex Conner by major decision with the score at 19-6, pinned Fernley’s Logan Bell in 1:58 and sealed his trip to state with a fall victory against South Tahoe’s Patrick Webster at the 1:50 mark of the consolation semifinal.

In the third-fourth match, Jones was shut out in a 15-0 tech-fall loss to Spring Creek senior Jacob Taylor.

State Tournament

The Division 3A Nevada Wrestling Championships will open at 4 p.m. Friday, the second day of action starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, at Virgin Valley High School, in Mesquite.

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Related to this story

Elko placed a trio of wrestlers and finished 10th as a team against a healthy number of varsity programs, scoring 78 points. Wells finished 13th overall with 42 points and sent two grapplers to the podium, West Wendover finishing 21st with 23 points.

The Indians placed third with a team score of 128 points, trailing only second-place Palo Verde (147) and champion Green Valley (252.5). Elko wrestled well as a unit and sent four of nine members to podium, led by a pair of champions.

As a unit, the Indians ranked ninth of 27 teams with a score of 92 points during the Spring Creek Kiwanis Invitational. Individually, Elko was led by runner-up efforts from freshman Craig Slater and junior Zeth Kinterknecht.

Despite limited team success at the Wiley Dobbs Invitational from Dec. 21-22, in Twin Falls, Idaho, three Elko wrestlers placed in their weight divisions — led by a champion at 120 pounds.

For the second-consecutive season, Elko’s Zeth Kinterknecht ranked second in the Division 3A Nevada State Wrestling Championships. The Indians gained third-place finishes from Darin Legrand and Gabe Lozano, Elko ranking sixth as a team.

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