Rail City schools, Spanish Springs and Reed, are bringing some serious competition to the mat in hopes of sending their top wrestlers to the 4A State Championships next week in Las Vegas.
Spanish Springs is looking to compete for a team title. That is just the second of three goals the Cougars established for themselves this season. The first was taking the High Desert League title, which the Cougars accomplished finishing up undefeated in league dual meets.
Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said he believes his team will be in the running for the regional title along with Reno and Carson.
“Those three teams can give a push in there, no way you can count out other teams,” Imelli said. “I think we’ll be up there. I think our kids have worked hard this year. We’ve gone to the tournaments we needed to, to make sure we’re ready at this point.”
The Cougars have one wrestler competing in each weight class and will bring four extras to the tournament as well.
“I feel good,” Imelli said. “They’ve had the pre-seeding meeting. Our kids still have to make weight Friday and be eligible for the tournament. If everything goes as planned, I think we’ll be fighting for regional title.”
In the 103-pound weight class, Curtis Lampert will compete for the Cougs as the No. 2 seed. Austin Lee will also compete in the 103s.
In the 112-pound weight class, Dakota Lee, who is not seeded will compete for Spanish Springs.
Spanish Springs senior Todd Pearson is the top seed in the 119-pound class.
Austin Yohey, who is seeded second and Bryson O’Gorman will handle the Cougars slots at 125s. SSHS standout Zach Perez, seeded second in the HDL, looks to compete in the 130-pound weight class.
The Cougars have Anthony Acosta in the 135s and he is seeded second in the class.
In the 140s, Jes Sylvester is seeded first for the Cougars while Sean Hubbard is seeded third in the 145’s. Blake Myers picked up a second seed in the 152-pound race.
This week the Cougars have tried to get in as much wrestling as they can during recent shortened and very intense practices.
“We have a couple of seniors and if they don’t have a good weekend, (Thursday) was their last day of practice,” Imelli said. “They’ve got to finish on the terms they want to finish. They’ve got to finish their high school season the way they want to.”
Jake Drescher, although not seeded, will compete in the 160’s, followed by Clay Coleman in the 171’s. Coleman is ranked third.
Nick Audenreid (189) and JJ Phoenix (215) are both seeded fourth. Finally, at heavyweight Billy Dean is ranked third.
Imelli said he has high hopes for his team.
“I could see us with seven kids going to state,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to go. The number could be as high as 11. If kids don’t perform, we could be on the other side of that, but we're not talking about it.”
•For Reed, the Raiders will compete mostly in the bigger weight classes at regionals this weekend.
“We got four guys that have a shot to make it (to state),” Reed coach Dan Barraza said. “We have two No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 seeds.”
RHS standout Reese Dassinger is the first seed in the 152-pound weight class. The junior is a frontrunner in his class according to coach Dan Barraza.
Reed freshman Spencer Empey is ranked second heading into the 152-pound class. Broc Westlake is a sophomore and ranked as the HDL's top seed in the 189-pound class. Lastly, senior Spencer Burns will compete for the Raiders in the heavyweight division as the overall No. 2 seed.
“All of them have the ability to make it if they wrestle at their best.” Barraza said.
The Raiders did what they could in practice, by doing live wrestling on Monday and Tuesday and left Wednesday and Thursday to drills and working out any kinks in their game plan.
“They’re all in shape now,” Barraza said. “It’s all about not getting hurt and trying to be as healthy as possible going in.”