Wrestlers wrap up 1998 season
It has not been an easy season for the Tahoe-Truckee High School wrestlers.
Starting the year with canceled meets, cases of mono and shoulder injuries, problems were only compounded with gained weight and a long winter break.
Still, the group of seven wrestlers traveled to Virgin Valley in Mesquite, Nev., the weekend of Feb. 13 and 14 to compete in the NIAA/U.S. Bank state championships, coming away with respectable individual finishes.
As a team, TTHS finished 12th out of 16 schools, with 48 points.
White Pine took the state championship with 225.5 points, its third championship in four years.
At the end of the tournament, junior Danny Curtis and senior Santiago Mendoza each finished third in their respective weight classes.
Curtis (160 lb.) had only become eligible to wrestle a few weeks ago, having missed nearly every previous meet. Still, he managed to go 4-1 at divisional duals and 5-1 at state.
“Going into state, we knew Danny’s toughest obstacle was going to be his stamina,” said assistant coach Ron Curtis. “So his sharpness was in question.”
Curtis’ first match was against Zack Good of Dayton. Curtis took the win with a solid pin in 52 seconds.
Curtis’ second match, against Joe Pursel of Yerington, was not as easy.
At the end of the second period, Curtis had a 5-4 lead but he lost in the third, 7-5.
Still, Curtis continued through the tournament, winning the next four matches, eventually taking third place in a match against Rocky Lee of Moapa Valley. Curtis won 7-6.
Mendoza (152 lb.) came into state seeded second, with a 45-10 season record.
In his first match, Mendoza beat Chris Mose of Spring Creek by a pin, then later took Alma Olsen of Battle Mountain 9-5 to move into quarterfinals.
Mendoza’s third match was against White Pine’s Erik Jackson, who is ranked 18th in the nation.
“We knew Jackson was going to be the biggest match for Santiago,” said assistant coach David Lage.
In the middle of the second period, Mendoza was down 6-3. He couldn’t hold on, eventually falling 19-3.
In the consolation bracket, Mendoza faced still more challenges. Against Yerington’s Tim Beck, a wrestler Mendoza had previously lost to this season, he pinned Beck in the third period.
The win moved him into a match against ROP’s Richard Rios, the final match of Mendoza’s high school career.
At the end of the first period, the score was 0-0. During the second, Mendoza fought from his back to reverse Rios, but time ran out.
In the third, Mendoza again put Rios on his back, but time ran out, leaving Mendoza with the 8-2 loss.
Mendoza ended his season with a 49-11 record.
“Santiago wrestled the last two matches of his career from his heart,” said Ron Curtis.
Also winning matches at the meet were Truckee’s James White (junior), who went 1-2 and junior Neil Seelhoff, who went 2-2.
Freshman Brian Kendrick was 0-2 at state, while freshmen Sta’s Bolton and James Curtis each went 0-2, as well.
“Even though the young kids didn’t get any wins, they wrestled hard and gained valuable experience,” said Ron Curtis.
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