I typically use this space to talk about one of the dominant storylines in local athletics. For the last month and a half, it’s been basketball dominated.
And how could it not?
The Spanish Springs boys, although off to a luke warm start, began the season with lofty expectations and regional title aspirations.
The Nevada men’s team is in the first year of the Eric Musselman era. The two-time former NBA coach has already eclipsed last year’s win total.
And there are numerous other local subplots in the greater Northern Nevada picture. The Reed boys are in the first year under new coach, Zach Sanford. The Reed girls are younger than a lot of JV teams and are still one of the region’s better teams. And the Sparks boys have already matched last year’s total number of league wins.
But maybe the most impressive story of the winter isn’t from the hardwood. It’s from the mat.
The Spanish Springs wrestling program is in the midst of an incredible run. Coach Joe Imelli has built the program into arguably the strongest dynasty in Northern Nevada regardless of the sport.
The Cougars have won six of the last seven DI North titles and are the favorite to make it seven of the last eight.
Last Wednesday, the Cougs went to Reno for a dual that may as well have been for the High Desert League title. The Huskies were last year’s runner up to the Cougs at the regional meet.
Imelli’s bunch didn’t blink. They rolled 57-23. And that was including a forfeit at the 195 pound class.
Spanish Springs can essentially secure the HDL title on Wednesday night in a home dual with McQueen.
Then it’s on to the regional meet. Reno has hosted the last couple years, but this year the stage is set for the Cougars to celebrate on their home mat. Spanish Springs will host the two-day event Feb. 12-13.
The writing is on the wall for the Cougs to celebrate that Saturday evening in their own gym. The same can not be said for the local program’s prospects at the end of the state meet on Feb. 20 in Southern Nevada.
Spanish Springs is yet to win a state title, having finished no better than fourth at state in 2014.
Either way, Spanish Springs wrestling is the Rail City’s best shot at a state title in a major sport this winter.
A state title, now that would be a dominant storyline.