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Cougar wrestlers hold off Reno
by Dan Eckles
Jan 22, 2014 | 1469 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Dan Eckles - Spanish Springs' Brik Chesley and Reno's Cauley Sullivan lock up during their 195-pound match Wednesday night.
Tribune photo by Dan Eckles - Spanish Springs' Brik Chesley and Reno's Cauley Sullivan lock up during their 195-pound match Wednesday night.
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Tribune photo by Dan Eckles - Spanish Springs wrestling coach Joe Imelli talks about a scoring call with official Mike Hartley during the SSHS-Reno HDL dual Wednesday night.
Tribune photo by Dan Eckles - Spanish Springs wrestling coach Joe Imelli talks about a scoring call with official Mike Hartley during the SSHS-Reno HDL dual Wednesday night.
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The Spanish Springs wrestling team got all it could handle from league rival Reno Wednesday night, but in spite of battling through one of its toughest league duals in seven years, the Cougars pulled out a 42-30 victory over the visiting Huskies.

The win was the 38th straight High Desert League dual victory for Spanish Springs. The SSHS grapplers have not lost a league dual since January of 2007 at Fallon, then a northern Nevada large school power.

Reno was still within striking distance going into the final match of the night. Trailing 36-30, as the 126-pound match got underway, the Huskies needed a pin to pull even. That wasn't meant to be as Spanish Springs got a pin from Tyler Poalillo to account for the final 12-point margin.

"Absolutely, I thought it would be this tight," Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said. "I know I get nervous for every match, but I've been nervous about this one too. I've had a hard time the last few days trying to relax. I knew Reno matched up well and could give us problems."

Spanish Springs took a victory in eight of the 14 matches. The only match not decided on the mat came in the 285-pound weight class where Cougars senior Chase Hauder won by forfeit.

Reno took a 24-17 lead in the team score after Huskies standout Cauley Sullivan picked up a 6-0 win over Spanish Springs' Brik Chesley in the 195-pound match. Both Sullivan and Chesley are considered two of the best wrestlers in the state in that class.

Spanish Springs proceeded to win five of the last six matches on the night to take the victory.

The first match of the dual came at 132s where Spanish Springs got a technical fall win by Blake Boswell. Next, was the 138 matchup where the Cougars got a first-round pin from Cole Drescher.

Reno won the next three matches, but that string was snapped when Spanish Springs got a third-round pin from Casey Preston at 170s. The SSHS crew led 17-15 at that point.

The Huskies got some momentum going their way with back-to-back wins, forging ahead 24-17 before Spanish Springs ran away with its late-dual success.

The Cougars' five wins in the final six matches came by Anthony Walsh at 220s (third-round pin), Hauder at 285s (forfeit), Nick Poalillo at 106s (6-5 dec.), Isaac Ruiz at 120s (15-4 dec.) and then Tyler Poalillo's pin.

Spanish Springs is 4-0 in HDL duals this winter and will clinch its seventh-straight league championship if it can knock off Reed and Hug in its final two conference clashes.

Imelli pointed to his team's four freshman as key components to the triumph. All four of the freshmen won -- Nick Poalillo, Ruiz, Drescher and Preston -- and three won with pins.

"I knew 152s, 170s and 195s would be key matches, and we lost two of those three," Imelli said. "Poalillo's match at 106 turned out to be big for us and going in I wasn't even thinking about that ... If you look up and down the lineup, their big guys did what they were supposed to do and ours did too. It was all the other matches where our kids really came through."

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