Alder Creek wrestlers take third at Douglas |

Alder Creek wrestlers take third at Douglas

Provided to the SunStephen Zissimos, a seventh-grader at Alder Creek Middle School, pins an opponent during the Douglas wrestling tournament this past Saturday. Zissimos placed first in his weight class.

The Alder Creek Middle School wrestling team took second place behind Yerington in the Douglas wrestling tournament this past Saturday.

Alder Creek, which boasts 40 wrestlers in only its second year as a program, improved on its third-place finish a year ago in the same tournament, scoring 88 more points and placing ahead of Douglas, Fallon, Carson, South Tahoe, Eagle Valley, Incline, Carson Valley and others.

The Cougars placed seven wrestlers in the finals, with 15 bringing home medals. Among the seven finalists were team captain Javier Virrey, Stein Retzlaff, Griffin Brown, Stephen Zissimos, Tyler Cavaness, Carlos Ramirez and Blake Crosby. Of the seven, four became champions: Virrey, Zissimos, Ramirez and Crosby.

There were also a number of first-year wrestlers who placed in the tournament.-

“The one wrestler who stood out from this dominating team was Blake Crosby,” said Cougars head coach Danny Curtis.

Crosby, a fifth-grader competing in the heavyweight division, was the shortest wrestler in his class at 5-foot-2. It didn’t matter. In the semifinal match, Crosby took down a 6-foot-3, 225-pound wrestler twice before pinning him for the win.

In the finals, Crosby surprised everyone when he took down his elder and more experienced opponent, a seventh-grader from Carson Valley, to score five points. After his opponent rolled off his back, Crosby turned him again for another three points, taking an 8-0 lead into the second period. Halfway through the second period Crosby turned his opponent and pinned him.

“I was so excited, I raised both my arms in the air and made eye contact with my dad,” Crosby said. “I knew I did a good job.”

Alder Creek coach Steve Whitten was impressed with Crosby’s performance.

“I didn’t expect Blake to make it past the semifinals, but he did, and he won the tournament,” Whitten said.

The toughest weight class for the Cougars is 105 pounds because there are four wrestlers in the same class who wrestled last year: Virrey, Tyler Curtis, Max Collinson and Zakk Ray. Three of the four earned medals while the fourth wrestler was knocked out of the tournament by his own teammate, Curtis, who took third.

“It was fun to watch these four duel it out,” coach Curtis said. “Any of these four wrestlers can start on any other team. We are lucky to have all four on the same team.

“You could only have one starter per weight class and to watch these guys wrestle each other is a real treat for any coach.”

The Alder Creek team had a new look this year, bringing twice as many wrestlers as last year, with all wearing brand new uniforms that were donated by the Parent Teacher Organization.

Next up for the Cougars is the Dayton Invitational this weekend, where they will wrestle against Winnemucca, the top ranked team in the state.

“I can’t wait to see how we match up against Winnemucca,” coach Curtis said.

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