SPRING CREEEK – Saturday culminated with quite the showing from the Spring Creek wrestling team.
The Spartans not only defended their Division 3A North regional championship and appear poised for a defense of their 3A state crown, seven members of the squad knocked down regional titles in the respective weight classes.
In total, Spring Creek qualified 15 wrestlers for the state tournament – several notching crucial victories in the third-fourth place matches – two Spartans ranking fourth and missing the state tourney by one position.
Spring Creek opened a wide margin of victory over second-place Lowry, besting the Buckaroos with a total of 298.5 points to Lowry’s team score of 230.5.
The Spartans will send two wrestlers to state in the 106-pound tournament, freshman Chase Milligan and sophomore Jacob Taylor.
Milligan defeated Taylor in the 106-pound final by fall in 2:09.
Milligan finished with a 3-0 record – tallying pins in each of his victories – Taylor closing with a 2-1 mark.
Spring Creek’s next regional champion came in the form of 120-pound junior Josh Tripp, who rolled through the division with ease.
He notched pinfall victories in each of his three matches, winning the regional championship by fall over Fallon’s Mason Smith at the 5:05 mark.
While Spring Creek is looking for back-to-back state titles, so is 138-pound junior Dyllan Fuchs.
Fuchs won the 2017 state championship at the same weight as a sophomore, cruising to the 3A North regional crown Saturday.
He finished with a 3-0 record, including a win by technical fall and another by pinfall.
In the 138-pounf final, Fuchs dominated the action and notched a 10-2 major decision over Lowry’s Bryan Day.
Senior Anthony Chavez extended his high school career, notching a regional title in the 145-pound division.
Chavez, the 2015 state champion at 126 pounds during his freshman season, will get another chance to tally state title No. 2.
He earned the North No. 1 seed with a 2-0 record, receiving a bye in the first round.
He pinned Sparks’ Robert Pascual in the semifinal in 2:32, winning the 145-pound division by major decision with the score at 9-0 over Lowry’s Andres Gonzalez.
The 152-pound final provided some fireworks.
In a rematch of some previous highly-contested contests, freshman Beau Chacon outlasted Lowry’s Quint Bell with sheer will and by mere seconds.
Chacon fell behind 1-0 early in the match on a reversal by Bell, but he earned an escape of his own and notched a takedown in the third period – earning a 3-1 lead.
In the closing seconds, Bell took Chacon to the ground.
Chacon had a death grip around Bell’s knee and would not allow him to swing around behind and get on top, but Bell eventually broke the seemingly-forever, life-or-death hold and earned two points – tying the match.
After the score read 3-3, the officials got together and subtracted the points – saying Bell did not break the grip before time expired.
Chacon overcame a loss to Bell in front of the home crowd by a final score of 5-3 during the Spring Creek Kiwanis Invitational, winning the regional title with a 3-1 decision – sending the Spartans’ faithful into frenzy after one of the best matches of the weekend and stringing together champions in three straight weight classes for Spring Creek.
Senior K-Ci Slade took home the 182-pound crown, earning three pinfall victories in three matches.
He won the hardware with a fall victory over Lowry’s Anthony Peterson at the 4:48 mark in the third period.
The Spartans made it two in a row, also snagging the 195-pound regional championship thanks to sophomore Jeff Guthrie.
Guthrie rolled to the final with consecutive wins by pinfall, but the championship was a lot harder to come by.
He fell behind early to Lowry’s Joe Peterson, but Guthrie became stronger as the match went on – making multiple takedowns and narrowly escaping with a 6-5 victory.
Along with Taylor, three other Spartans notched runner-up finishes in their divisions: 113-pound sophomore Kodis Campbell, 132-pound freshman Q Boyd and 160-pound junior Clay Campbell.
Kodis Campbell cruised to the 113-pound final with consecutive wins by pinfall in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds – losing a hard-fought, low-scoring championship match to Lowry’s Taylor Corak.
Like Campbell, Boyd had little trouble in the quarters or semis – tallying two wins by pinfall in the 132-pound class.
In the championship, he was pitted against Fallon junior Tommy McCormick – who cut down from the 138-pound division.
Boyd wrestled well but could not score from his feet, McCormick earning the better of the exchanges on the ground – Fallon taking the 132-pound final by a score of 3-0.
Clay Campbell finished with a 2-1 record at 160 pounds, earning a victory by fall in the quarterfinal round and finding the high side of a close, 7-6 decision over Lowry’s Ryan Johnson in the semifinal.
In the final match, he squared off against the two-time defending state champion at 138 and 145 pounds, Fallon junior Sean McCormick.
Campbell wrestled McCormick well in the championship, nearly taking him down in the first period.
McCormick tallied two takedowns and earned a point on an escape, defeating Campbell 5-0.
Four Spring Creek grapplers notched must-have victories to qualify for state in their last matches, each earning wins in the third-fourth place contests – third going to state, fourth staying home.
Freshman Bear Browne finished with a 5-1 record, his only loss coming in his second match to eventual 113-pound champion Corak.
He opened the tournament with a tech-fall win – following with the loss – then stringing together three straight wins by pinfall from the consolation bracket to advance to the do-or-die battle for a state berth.
In the third-fourth match, Browne defeated Elko freshman Zeth Kinterknecht in the closing moments by a final score of 6-4, earning a takedown with the score knotted 4-4 in the final seconds.
The victory gave the Spartans two wrestlers in the state tournament at 113 pounds.
Sophomore Riley Fuchs booked his ticket to state with a 3-1 mark at 126 pounds, his only loss coming in the semifinal to runner-up Matthew Souza of Lowry.
He bounced back with a 9-4 victory in the consolation semifinal, winning the consolation championship with a hard-earned, bitter sweet victory over junior teammate Austin Wirth – taking Wirth down in the extra period for a 4-2, sudden-victory win after three periods resulted in a 2-2 tie.
Wirth finished fourth and one spot out of a state qualification, closing with a 3-2 record with two wins by pinfall.
Junior Chandler Hill also came up with a must-needed victory in the consolation final to earn a trip to state.
He closed with a 3-1 record – losing his semifinal match – closing with two pins, the biggest of all coming in the third-fourth match over Lowry’s Trent McKellips in 1:22.
In one of the best matches of the tournament – definitely in the final round – junior heavyweight Cody Jenkins overcame a slow start and outlasted Elko senior Byron Hansen in the consolation championship in the 285-pound class.
Jenkins was nearly pinned in the contest, but his stamina proved to be the difference.
He reversed position with Hansen, rolled him to his back and notched a pinfall victory at the 3:38 mark – bringing the Spring Creek fans to a roar in the final match for both the Spartans and the Indians.
The Spartans had three wrestlers who placed in the tournament but did not earn trips to state: Wirth, 170-pound senior Xzavier Edson and 152-pound junior Caden Constable.
Like Wirth, Edson came up on the short end of his third-fourth place.
He closed with a 2-2 record, losing by fall to Fallon’s Marcel Poracky by pinfall for the second time at the 1:25 mark of the consolation final.
Constable finished with a 3-2 record, his second loss coming in the consolation semifinal.
He won the fifth-sixth place match with a 5-0 decision over Elko junior Cristofer Meza.
“We had a good tournament. The kids wrestled really well, especially in the championship rounds. We have never had seven regional champions before. Sending 15 kids to state is awesome,” said Spring Creek coach Wade Pehrson. “We got some big wins in the final matches to win regional titles and get guys to state.”
Congratulations to the Spring Creek Spartans and coach Pehrson on their second-consecutive regional championship, the seven wrestlers who topped the Division 3A North in their respective weight classes, all 15 state qualifiers and best of luck in the upcoming grand finale.
The Division 3A Nevada State Wrestling Championships will kick off with quarterfinal matches at 9:45 a.m. Friday at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.