The Spanish Springs Cougars are planning to defend their league dual championship title. Starting off with four wins without a loss is a good way to do that.
“We're probably as high up as anybody else around in the region,” Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said.
The Cougars just came off a victory at the Douglas tournament that had many local area teams in contention.
“A lot of kids are really wrestling well right now,” Imelli said. “We're going to continue to grow right now in the next couple weeks. We're doing well as a dual team and we're doing well at individual tournaments.
“The kids are scoring points with us at every weight. Basically, we're looking at a team effort with everybody scoring points and everybody buying in.”
At the Norcals, a tournament held in northern California, with 53 teams, Spanish Springs tied for eighth while only taking 10 members.
SSHS freshman Curtis Lampert, who is 29-3 on the season, took first place in the 103-pound weight class. His third first-place finish of the year.
“The lightweights are really pushing each other hard,” Imelli said. “They're wrestling well.”
In the 119-pound class, Beau LaBarr took eighth in the recent tourney and Chris White took fifth for 171's.
Spanish Springs has two dual meets left, against McQueen, and its last meet of the High Desert League season against Reno.
“We've had a lot of chances and opportunities to see Reno,” Imelli said. “They're a good team. It's going to be a good dual. I don't see anyone running away with it. It's going to come down to who gets the pins. It's going to be tight as far as wins going.”
Imelli said he felt that whichever team got more pins than decisions would win the meet and probably the league championship title.
“The kids are having fun, obviously winning,” Imelli said. “They're working hard together. Right now we're just as tough as any other team around this area. As long as we keep improving over the next four weeks, we're going to be a solid team come regionals, and hopefully give some other teams a run for it.”
This coming weekend, the Cougars are headed to a tournament in Gilroy, Calif. where they will face stiff competition from some highly ranked teams from the central coast.
“We're going to see some very tough teams over there.” Imelli said. “Some of these kids have been wrestling in youth programs for a long time. That's just going to be a real good challenge for us. The tournaments we go to in California, it's nice to place and for good recognition, but the kids understand it's about getting ourselves ready for regionals.”
•At Reed, the Raiders are ready to pin down a tough stretch of meets to end the wrestling season.
Reed travels to Nevada Union for a tournament this weekend before facing North Valleys next Wednesday. The Raiders, 2-2 in the High Desert League, are hoping to clinch a third-place HDL dual finish before regionals, where they expect to be in the top four.
“I'm very disappointed with 2-2 in league,” Reed coach Ric Fehr said.
Fehr says the Raiders could have a better record but injuries and ineligibility have plagued his squad. Reed lost to Reno earlier in the season, 42-37, and gave up three forfeits in that meet, which is an uncontested 18 points to opponents. Reed's match against Spanish Springs was similar. The Raiders had to give up points due to forfeits. Spanish Springs is the other team Reed dropped a league dual to so far this winter.
“We had potential if we could have filled the roster,” Fehr said.
Reed still has two more tournaments as well as its final league dual, which will be against McQueen. Last year, four of Reed's wrestlers placed at regionals. Three of those athletes are returning — Brandon Gebhardt, Derek Ratto and Mitchell Payne.
Fehr said his Raiders' squad has six wrestlers who have a real possibility to place at regionals.
Fehr has been impressed with Shanice Vernon, who he says is ranked seventh in the nation in the 125-pound weight class. Reese Dassinger at 135, along with Payne (140) and Ratto (145), have shown they are forces to be reckoned with this season. Heavyweight Matt Roberto has come out this season as a senior with more intensity and has been 'pouring it on' Fehr said.
The toughest challenge Reed will face in the upcoming weeks will be fatigue, Fehr said. The squad is attending a tournament in Fernley this weekend, as well as two other tournaments, plus the two final league duals.
To try and compensate for the intensity of the meets, Fehr has shortened the rest of the year's practices to give individuals more down time.
“At this point, we're going to refine our techniques,” Fehr said. “That should benefit individual kids with shorter, more intense practices.”