Truckee wrestling: Ricky Cooper takes second at State
The Wolverines brought six wrestlers to the 3A State Championship in Winnemucca ” freshmen Steven Baker (103 pounds) and Brooks Hudson (112), juniors Ricky Cooper (112) and Kyle Mullen (130), and sophomores Dustin Gwerder (145) and Alex Engler (171).
Leading the team was Cooper, who entered State ranked No. 1 from the North and left as the runner-up finisher in his 112-pound weight class.
He became the only the ninth wrestler from Truckee to take second place at State, while also earning a spot in the program’s Hall of Fame with a 40-10 record. With still another year ahead of him, Cooper ranks ninth all-time in wins, sixth all-time in team points and ninth all-time in pins.
In the first round of the State Championship, Cooper pinned his opponent in the first period to set up a semifinal match against Boulder City from the South. His opponent came out strong but Cooper threw him to the mat and scored a near fall.
Going into the second period leading 5-0, Cooper scored four points before giving up a two-point reversal and then pinning his opponent to put him in the finals against Virgin Valley.
Against a muscle-type wrestler, Cooper gave up a takedown, but then reversed him to keep the score tied going into the second period. In the second, Cooper took his opponent down and received a near fall, but his opponent reversed him and did the same thing to Cooper. In the final period tied Cooper was on top but gave up a one-point escape and then a takedown.
Cooper fought back to score a reversal, but time ran out with the score 9-8.
Mullen, who was making his third appearance in the State Championship, faced Miller of Sparks for the second time at State.
After losing to Miller last year, Mullen got his revenge and beat him for a third-place finish. It was Mullen’s first State medal.
“It feels great to beat Miller” said Mullen, the consolation champion. “We have wrestled each other 10 times in our careers, and it feels great to finish on top.”
Baker, ranked third in the North, entered his first State Championships and pushed his way to the semifinals by pinning his way there. In his semi, Baker wrestled a kid from Lowry whom he put to his back and almost pinned. But at the end of the match Baker trailed in points, 10-8.
Having to battle his way back through the tournament, Baker wrestled Moapa Valley and threw him in a lateral drop to his back, scoring five points. His opponent wrestled back hard while Baker scored four more points to win 9-5. Baker eventually placed fourth.
“It’s a feat not done very often as a freshman,” said Truckee head coach Ron Curtis.
Hudson broke his hand early in the season and was unable compete until the last two weeks of wrestling. Even so, he was able to earn a No. 5 seed from the North in qualifying for State.
“To compete at the varsity level of competition as a freshman, and qualify for State with two weeks of true practice, is a remarkable feat,” said Truckee coach Danny Curtis. “Brooks has a great future in wrestling; he is fun to watch.”
Gwerder also earned a No. 5 seed from the North and competed at State for the first time. Last year Gwerder placed second in the JV Championships, and this year he worked hard to get to the big show. He was one match away from placing.
“Dustin has skills that will get him further next year. I look forward to watching him progress next year,” Ron Curtis said.
Engler serves as an example that with hard work, an athlete can get what is deserved. He was ranked sixth from the North and got himself in the State Championships for his first time.
The entire team shaved Mohawks on their heads in honor of Truckee Hall of Fame wrestler Bobby Waters, who was not able to compete with the team.
Truckee’s senior co-captain, Waters wished everyone luck in accomplishing what they set out to achieve. Waters entered the 100-Win Club to join nine other wrestlers in Truckee’s history, including his older brother, Marcus Waters.
For more information about the Truckee wrestling team, including the program’s Hall of Fame, visit http://www.truckeewrestling.com.
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