While there were a couple surprises that left Cougar fans with their jaws dropped, the hosts earned enough points to claim a 45-28 High Desert League dual victory.
“They surprised us a couple places. They came to wrestle absolutely,” SSHS wrestling coach Joe Imelli said. “Everybody in the league is where we used to be. They want to knock off the team that has been there before. We’re going to get everybody’s best from top to bottom.”
The biggest shocker of the night came at 138 pounds when Spanish Springs’ Rito Hernandez was pinned with five seconds remaining in his match with Jon Paulk. Hernandez dominated his way to a 10-0 lead in the third round, but he got too high on Paulk and the Lancer re-rolled Hernandez onto his back. Hernandez nearly avoided a pin, but a last-ditch effort by Paulk put Hernandez’s shoulders on the mat for a pin.
That cut Spanish Springs’ lead down to 36-28 with two weight classes to go, leaving the door open for an upset.
However, Zach Perez clinched the dual victory for the Cougs, recording a pin in the first minute of his 145-pound match. Blake Nauman followed with a 7-0 victory at 152 pounds, accounting for the 17-point margin.
The action opened up at 160 pounds and the Lancers struck first when Shawn Ramos picked up a pin near the end of the second round for a 6-0 lead.
The advantage was short-lived as a forfeit at 170 pounds knotted up the score.
The Cougars got rolling after that, making it 18 straight points thanks to first-round pins by 182-pounder Tyler Beaulac and 195-pounder Brik Chesley.
McQueen answered right back and made it an 18-12 score on a pin by Josh Ramos at 220 pounds.
The heavyweight match belonged to Spanish Springs’ Chase Hauder, who pinned Damon Ramos in the second round for a 24-12 score.
Then the action turned to the lightweights. Trailing by a point heading into the final round, Spanish Springs’ Wade Wrenn tallied back-to-back points and then held on for a 6-5 victory, increasing the home team’s edge to 27-12.
The second forfeit of the night by McQueen extended the gap to 33-12, but that’s when the northwest Reno school started to mount a comeback.
At 120 pounds, McQueen’s Mike Paulk returned a favor for an early season defeat by pinning Tyler Poalillo.
“For those two guys (Poalillo and Hernandez), that should drive them,” Imelli said. “They should come to school tomorrow still upset about it. They know they just have to hammer harder because the next time they see them, it’s not a factor.”
In what might have been the gutsiest performance of the night, Brandon Leyva was nearly pinned by McQueen’s James DeLeon for the majority of the last two rounds. Still, Leyva was able to avoid that fate and saved his team two points. DeLeon had to settle for a 16-4 major decision in the 126-pound weight class. The four points brought the Lancers to within 11 points on the scoreboard, 33-22.
Mason Cunningham picked up a 10-5 victory in the 132-pound match, giving Spanish Springs some breathing room, 36-22.
Spanish Springs will participate in the Tournament of Champions this weekend and will continue HDL duals action Wednesday at North Valleys.
Reed earned pins in all the wrestled weight classes except one decision. It also picked up a couple forfeit victories.
Hug's lone win came when Reed's wrestler at 113 pounds missed his weight.
The Raiders will also be competing at the TOC this weekend.
"We worked on a lot of things at practice this week and we went out and did them that night," Reed wrestling coach Dan Barraza said. "It was good to see that stuff we've been working on in practice. We were definitely looking strong. We've got a tough one this weekend. We'll get some learning experiences against some of the toughest guys in the nation."