One of the biggest stories taking place on the mats at the Reno Livestock Events Center is the pursuit of a third straight Division I State crown by Reed senior Spencer Empey. After a win on Friday, Empey is now a pair of victories away from retaining his championship as well as finishing off an undefeated streak that stretches back to the beginning of his sophomore year.
The 220-pounder opened state against Canyon Springs senior Fabian Leos and as the Raider has so many times before, Empey took the victory via a pin, with the fall coming a minute into the third round. Now Empey will take on Spring Valley senior Devin Dishari, who advanced with a 9-7 decision.
Unfortunately for the Blue and Gold, Empey’s teammate Erik Stockwell, the only other Raider to reach the state tourney, will not advance to the second day. Reed currently sits in a tie for 21st in the team standings with six points, 31 points off of the pace of 37 set by first place Green Valley.
While RHS will not be aiming for the team podium on Saturday, the other D-I squad from the Rail City surely will be.
Starting the day with 10 wrestlers overall, Spanish Springs sits eight points behind Green Valley with 29, good enough for third at the end of Day 1, with Cimarron-Memorial in second with 31. Carson High sits a point behind the Cougars in fourth, while Centennial and Liberty are tied for fifth with 26 points.
Of the top three, Green Valley has nine wrestlers remaining, including six still in the winner’s bracket of their respective weight classes. Cimarron-Memorial will send seven wrestlers to Day 2 with five in the winner’s bracket, while SSHS has seven wrestlers remaining, with four still vying for a state championship.
Leading the way for the Cougars that are alive for a championship in their particular classes is an SSHS 113-pounder, but perhaps not the competitor Spanish Springs may have expected.
Spanish Springs had a pair of wrestlers reach the state tourney at 113 pounds, highlighted by top-seeded senior Ryan Long. However, Long fell in the first round as a result of a 21-4 technical fall. Fortunately for the Cougs, freshman Blake Boswell grabbed a 5-4 decision to advance to the semis. Long then took a 6-1 decision to stay alive for third place.
Junior Tyler Poalillo then moved onto the semis in the 120s with a 5-0 decision, where he will meet Liberty senior Michael Sanchez.
Next up for the Cougars, 182-pound senior Tyler Beaulac worked quickly in his opening match. Just 1:17 into the contest, Beaulac seized a first-round pin to become one step closer to a state title. Spanish Springs’ Brik Chesley (195) then rounded out the Cougars’ title contenders as the junior won his match with a 4-3 decision.
Spanish Springs also has Zach Perez (145) and Chase Hauder (285) competing for third in their respective brackets. Rito Hernandez (132), Justin Shaffer (160) and Anthony Walsh (220) did not make it to the second day.
In the Division I-A, Sparks High had a duo representing the Railroaders at state and after Day 1, that number was trimmed to one.
Sparks’ Mario Guadron won his 145-pound match with a 14-2 major decision, putting the senior two wins away from his ultimate goal of bringing a state championship back to the Railroaders. David Valentine (285) was the other SHS wrestler to make the state tournament, but the heavyweight did not advance to the second day.
Semifinal matches are set to start today at 9 a.m