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Dwindling roster has firm hold on grapplers

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

Picture a fine artist, a sculptor, who, when putting the final touches on his marble bust, is startled and knocks off the nose.

It is the plight of the Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ wrestling team, which, with each of its achievements this season, has faced a new set back. Numerous times the team has gathered momentum at tournaments, faring well, before losing wrestlers in key weight classes and dropping the following tournament.

Truckee head coach Mike Halket said the unwillingness to condition, injuries and grades are his worst enemies, having kept the Wolverines’ roster in constant state of change.

Case in point:

On Sunday, Jan. 23, the wrestling team traveled to Rite of Passage in Yerington for a tourney against Bishop-Manogue, Dayton and ROP. The team went undefeated, easily defeating Manogue, 47-24, and Dayton 51-9.

The match against ROP depended on a dramatic finish in which the team trailed heading into the heavy weight 215 division. Jesse Helsdon was moved up to the 215 class and had to wrestle ROP’s Robert Pride. Helsdon had to win by eight points or more over the opponent and tallied a pin 1:59 into the first period, sealing a 39-36 win.

Helsdon, Brian Kendrick, Ian Wrenn, James Curtis and Ray Mrozkowski each went 3-0 in their respective classes. The team’s only loss of the season, within the division, was against Spring Creek the week before.

The following Saturday, Jan. 29, the team traveled to Dayton for a Division I and II crossover meet. A year prior, the Wolverines were undefeated at the tournament, and were expected by their coaches to do the same this year.

But the team suffered a blow. Truckee lost two wrestlers – one in the 145-pound class with a 15-10 record on the season and one in the 171-pound class with a 20-10 record – both of which were likely to place fourth or higher in the state tournament coming up in two weeks, according to assistant coach Ron Curtis. The two wrestlers became ineligible due to grades and will not be able to wrestle for the remainder of the season.

With the two vacant spots on the roster, the best the Wolverines could do was 3-2 at the tournament, defeating Dayton, 39-30, Lovelock, 39-33, and Manogue, 42-36. The team lost to Yerington, 32-27, and Incline, 36-33.

Kendrick, Wrenn and Curtis all went undefeated, earning five more wins apiece. Helsdon suffered his first defeat of the season, losing to a Lovelock wrestler. Brad Sausser finished the tourney, also, with a 4-1 record. Dennis Graham and Mike Acuff, both first year wrestlers in the program, finished with 3-2 records.

Dennis Graham has a 14-24 record so far this season. Acuff is at 14-19. Todd Seaborg has an 11-20 record while Sausser maintains a 19-15 record. Kendrick, who is undefeated in the Class 3A so far this season is top-seeded for the state tournament with a 33-7 record. Wrenn is proving himself dominant with a 29-8 record while Curtis adds strength to the heavier divisions with a 34-8 record. Rich Grossman has a 4-12 record and Helsdon, with his loss, is seeded second so far for the state tournament with a 35-5 record.

“Numbers wise, we’re down,” said Halket, “but individually we’re strong. I’m expecting state places from Kendrick, Wrenn, Curtis and Helsdon. All of them are capable of making it to the finals.

Sausser, overhearing Halket’s list (while doing left shoulder rolls) chimed in “I’m going to prove you wrong, coach.”

The team next travels to Fernley for a Division I and III crossover match where they will face Southern Nevada squads they’ve not seen yet this season. The tournament is on Saturday, Feb. 5, starting at 9 a.m.

The team then travels to Incline for a dual meet against Incline and Manogue on Wednesday before going to the state tournament the following weekend.


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