Claesson takes sixth in national comp held in Reno
Two local wrestlers Ð Buck Claesson and Tim Curtis of Truckee Ð competed in the World of Wrestling (WOW) Tournament at Reno Livestock Events Center, April 2-4. The WOW invited 2,491 wrestlers from 37 states who participated in the three-day event.
Claesson finished fourth in state in 2004 (his junior year) with a 31-12 record, after winning the state championship in the 125-pound weight class the year before. Curtis did not place in state as a freshman, but he posted a very respectable 25-18 record.
But the WOW tournament was no routine high school tournament, and it was the largest event Claesson and Curtis have competed in this wrestling season. A large number of state champions and runner-ups made up the 2,491 wrestlers on hand.
Besides sheer numbers, a twist in the rules makes the WOW a true test of endurance. At such a large tournament, they don’t follow the usual standard of time between matches set forth by the National Federation Rules, said Truckee High School wrestling coach Ron Curtis.
“This is a marathon tournament,” Curtis said. “You may get off the mat and have to wrestle again in 12 minutes. The norm is usually 45 minutes between matches.”
Coach Curtis also added, “During my tenor of coaching, over the years I have not had a kid that has placed at this tournament.”
Claesson was determined to change that, accomplishing what no other Truckee wrestler has done. Wrestling in 130-pound weight class, he broke even, going 3-3 and placing sixth in the tournament.
Ron’s son, Tim Curtis, had a different experience, but it will only help him in his future wrestling.
“(Tim) found out that he wasn’t ready for that kind competition yet,” coach Curtis said. “He went two losses and out. You really have to be mentally ready and on your game to do what (Claesson) did.”
Wrestling started on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and lasted until 10:30 p.m. Claesson’s only match of the night was against Adam Kinley, from Oregon. Claesson was dominated in his initial match, losing 16-3.
“I thought the Oregon wrestler wrestled a very good, smart match,” coach Curtis said. “His style of wrestling gave Buck fits. I don’t think Buck was ready for that intense of a match.”
On Saturday, the action started at 12:30 p.m., lasting until 6:00 p.m. Claesson reeled off three straight wins to start the day. His first match was against Shane Vascancellos, from Hawaii. Claesson won a close match, 6-5. His second match of the day and third match of the tournament was against Jared Lee, from local McQueen High School in Reno. Claesson jumped out to a huge lead (8-0) early in the first period, eventually winning 20-3.
Claesson had a more difficult match against Kolby Condos, from Wyoming, in which the first period ended tied at zero. Claesson scored a two-point takedown in the second period and a two-point reversal in the last period, winning 4-0.
But his fourth match of the day brought him up against Kinley Ð the same wrestler he had lost to the day before. Claesson again took the loss, but put up a much better fight this time around. After the second period, Claesson trailed 4-1. In the last period, Claesson pulled out a two-point reversal to pull within one, but Kinley countered with a reversal late in the period. The score ended in Kinley’s favor, 6-3. Claesson finished Saturday’s action with a 3-2 record.
Sunday was the medal match. Claesson’s opponent was Charlie Oddo from Tennessee. Claesson found himself in a deep hole, down 8-3 in the first period. Claesson could not recover, losing 21-8.
“I was proud of how Buck didn’t give up and tried to fight his way back into the match,” coach Curtis said. “He gave it a strong effort.”
Claesson’s sixth place finish in the WOW tournament was a great way to write off the 2004 season, after a disappointing fourth-place follow-up to a 2003 state championship as a sophomore.
“Doing what no other Truckee wrestler has done, it’s a great way for Buck to close the book on this season,” said coach Curtis.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.