WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW: Wrestling focuses on team building
Truckee High School wrestling will look to make more of a team effort this winter.
“There’s two parts to a wresting team,” said Head Coach Mike Halket. “Individually, we have been strong the last couple seasons. As a team we haven’t been able to fill up the weight classes.”
In wrestling, there are 13 weight classes kids can compete from in a match. If a school cannot place a kid in a particular weight class, it has to forfeit the match, therefore losing valuable points to the team score.
“This year we hope to fill 10-11 weight classes,” Halket said. “We’re hoping for a much better team performance in addition to the good individual records.”
Individually, Halket will return a state champion and two other runner-ups to the mat this season.
Junior Buck Claessen was crowned Northern 3A State Champion in the 112-pound class last year. This year Claessen will move up to the 125s or 130s, Halket said.
That could mean a clash of titans in the upcoming Yerington Tournament this weekend, where Claessen could face Bryce Sattoris from Spring Creek, depending on which weight class the kids compete in. Sattoris is ranked No. 17 in the nation.
Halket would love to see them square off on Saturday.
“That would be huge,” Halket said.
Marcus Waters, a senior, finished second in the state last year in the 152-pound class. As it stands now, Waters will be grappling opponents in the same weight class in 2003-2004.
Rounding out the threesome, junior Daniel Ballou took third in state in the 171-pound weight class. Claessen, Waters and Ballou have all wrestled under Halket since their freshman year.
Halket also expects senior Shane Wright to have a standout year.
“Other than that most of the kids are pretty inexperienced,” Halket said. “They may have wrestled before, but this is their first year at the high school level.”
Behind assistant coaches Ronn Curtis, who has coached Truckee wrestling for more than 20 years, and Dave Lade, the team should be a strong contender.
Curtis has coached two sons to state titles in the past, and his third son, freshman Tim Curtis, begins his wrestling career at Truckee this year in the 135-pound weight class.
On Thursday, Truckee will host the South Tahoe Duel, an exhibition against South Tahoe and Portola.
“South Tahoe is a 4A school, but we’ve had some good matches against them in the past,” Halket said.
“Portola usually doesn’t fill a lot of the weight classes, so it’s mostly an individual battle with them.”
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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.