Spanish Springs, one of the strongest dynasties in Northern Nevada regardless of sport, ran away its fourth-straight regional title and its seventh in eight years, on Saturday afternoon in its home gym.
The Cougs finished with 203 points, 32 more than runner-up Carson.
“It’s as nice as the first one and as nice as the ones in between because it’s a different group of kids,” Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said. “We went about it a different way.”
Typically, Spanish Springs gets a lot of its points in the consolation bracket. This weekend, not many Cougs even fell into that side of the bracket. Spanish Springs put seven wrestlers in the finals, four of which won regional crowns.
Sophomore Jacob Ruiz (113) won the most dramatic title of the afternoon. He took down Carson’s Brandon Basa as time expired in the fourth sudden death overtime period to secure a 4-2 win.
Senior Blake Boswell (145) won a much less dramatic title. He needed just 78 seconds to pin North Valleys’ Tim Trainer and lock up his second-straight title.
After finishing second his freshman and sophomore seasons, Cole Drescher (152) won his first regional title with a 9-4 decision over Damonte Ranch’s Michael Solferino.
And senior Jacob Dye (160) pinned Galena’s Jordan Baker with five second left in the second round.
“We had seven kids in the finals. Seven kids. We haven’t had that before,” Imelli said. “Four champs and three runners up. When we hit that point right there, it was one of those kind of good feelings.”
Sophomore Owen Jones (106), junior Casey Preston (195) and junior heavyweight Tyler Barats all were runners up.
Colby Preston (152) and Logan Klonicke (182) also qualified for state by finishing third.
The Cougs got to celebrate the regional title in their home gym for the first time since 2009, when the incredible run began. The only year since that Spanish Springs hasn’t won the regional title, was in 2012, when the Cougs fell by two to Carson, in Carson.
Imelli said he’s been bugging Athletic Director Art Anderson to get the event back to Spanish Springs before it finally came to fruition this year.
While the regional title was nothing new to Spanish Springs, success at state has alluded the program. The Cougs have never finished higher than fourth.
“We’ve done the regional thing, we haven’t done the state thing,” Imelli said. “So it’s got to be a different mindset to get that going.”
State will be held on Saturday at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm, Nevada—45 minutes south of Las Vegas on the Nevada-California border.
Reed will send three wrestlers to Primm and finished seventh in the team competition.
Junior Izzy Casarez (138) rolled to this third-straight regional title with a win by technical fall, 23-8, against Douglas’ Matt Williams.
He wrestled his toughest match on Friday, beating Carson’s Brady O’Keefe 9-7 in overtime in the quarterfinals.
Casarez has higher goals, however, after finishing second at state last year.
“I think he’s shown what he’s capable of,” Reed coach Mike Klapp said. “I know the goal wasn’t winning this. It’s still in front of us.”
Senior Austin Martinez (126) was the runner up and Chase Heit (145) battled through the consolation bracket to finish third and earn the trip to state.
“Well, I had three kids I really was hoping were going to get there,” Klapp said. “And they did.”
Spanish Springs 203
Damonte Ranch 114
North Valleys 80
Bishop Manogue 31
Sparks’ Nobbs qualifies for state
Sparks had a tough go in the DI-A North regional meet on Saturday at Fallon, finishing in seventh out of nine teams.
The Railroaders managed 50 points, 54 points behind sixth-place South Tahoe. Spring Creek edged Lowry, 225.5-219.5, for the title.
Heavyweight Hunter Nobbs was the lone Railroader to qualify for state, which runs simultaneously with the DI meet in Primm on Saturday, by finishing third.