Wrestling makes good in state finals
With the smallest roster in the NIAA state championship tournament, Truckee high wasn’t deterred.
This is an individual sport.
Buck Claesson came home the champ at 119 pounds Marcus Waters took second at 152 pounds and Dan Ballou took third at 171 pounds
Nathan Wrenn at the 145 pounds weight class, and Shane Wright competing at the 160 pounds weight class, both went with one win and two losses, both coming within one victory of placing at the state tournament.
Claesson, up from his normal 112 pounds weight class, had the second seed from the North. His first match was against Caleb Madosik of Pahrump, the third seed from the South. Claesson pinned him in the first period at 1:51.
That set up a match with the number one seed from the South, Oct Sandoval of Virgin Valley. Claesson managed to jump to a 6-2 lead at the end of the first period. Claesson stretched the lead to 12-5 in the second before the match finished with a 12-8 victory, putting him in the final match.
The championship was a rematch with Right of Passage’s John Abel. The prior week at the zone tournament Claesson lost to Abel 5-8.
In zones, Abel jumped out to a 5-0 lead, which put Abel behind the eight ball.
This time around in the state championship match, the first period ended 0-0.
Early in the second period, Claesson struck first with a 2-point takedown and put Abel to his back for a 2-point near fall. Abel was able to escape for 1 point and Claesson earned another point with a technical violation from Abel. The score was 5 to 1 in favor of Claesson at the end of the second period. That left him in the driver’s seat with one last period.
Abel is more of a defensive wrestler, usually waiting until his opponent makes a mistake. But being behind and with only one last period left he was forced on the attack.
During that last period the referee had to stop the match and talk to both wrestlers because of too much extra physical aggressiveness. Abel was able to score another 1-point escape and a 2-point takedown. Claesson answered back with a 1-point escape and 2-point takedown of his own. The last scoring was on a 1-point stall penalty by Claesson. The last seconds ticked off with Claesson holding onto the 8-5 score.
He joined a small elite group of state champions from THS. Former state champions – Danny Curtis, James Curtis, Jesse Helsdon – were all seniors when they won. But Claesson is only a sophomore with two more years ahead of him.
This has been an interesting last two weeks for Waters at 152 pounds After wrestling great at the divisional duals, going 6-1 and not missing any practices all season long, during the week of the Zone tournament, he got sick.
Mustering just two days of practice the week of zones, he eventually lost to Josh Whitman of Fernley, whom he beat twice and lost to twice this year. He won his next match to go to the consolation finals to battle for third.
But the coaches had a different idea. They collaborated on strategy for the state tournament. Since Waters was sick, they wanted to give him a chance to be on the opposite side of the bracket of Spring Creek’s Jesse Dudley. They pulled Waters, forfeiting his last match at zone.
This put Waters in the fourth seed from the North. This paired him against the number one seed from the South, Virgin Valley’s, Vince Lusk. Waters had previously beaten Lusk at the Tonapah Tournament in January.
Marcus took the first round with a 4-3 victory.
His next match was against Whitman of Fernley again. This time Marcus won 11-3, sending him to the championship finals.
The finals match was once again against Dudley of Spring Creek. Waters was told to keep the match close to give him the opportunity to win. It was real close, as Waters lost by a 1-point margin, 1-2. That got Waters second place.
At 171 pounds, Ballou had an all-day battle himself. He went 3 and 1 for a third-place finish. Being ill the last month and half, Ballou started out real sluggish, but bounced back from his only loss in his first match. He seemed to have gotten more energy and became more aggressive after the loss.
As a team, THS had the smallest representation, with only five wrestlers. They finished 11th out of 12 teams with 52 team points. But 6.5 points separated them from seventh place. With no seniors on the team, no one will be lost after this year.
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