Things couldn’t have gone much better for the top White Pine wrestlers at their Divisional meet over the weekend.
Four Bobcats, Chris Gamberg, Joe Pauley, Monty Moore and Drue Ashby all earned a number one seed heading into the state championship meet this weekend with strong performances.
Joey Lyons was not far behind, falling in the finals to exit with a number two seed. Finally Jay Mabson, who has spent most of the season wrestling against junior varsity opponents, surprised some with a fourth place finish, earning him a chance at a state title as well.
“Our kids wrestled tough just like they have all year long. I wasn’t surprised by how well they all did,”
wrestling coach Mike Gamberg said of his team’s individual performances. The team overall finished in fifth place in the meet, but that ranking is misleading due to White Pine not having as many wrestlers to fill weight classes and earn overall team points.
If there was a standout performance of all the Bobcats at the meet though, it was from senior Drue Ashby. Gamberg called the senior’s undefeated run through the tournament a “dominant” showing.
“Going into [Divisions] I knew it was going to be an easier tournament for me, but I’ve also thought that before. I just kept my head up and tried not to get cocky the whole time,” Ashby said.
Though Ashby has made it to the state championship meet in all three of his previous years, he has yet to take the top spot. He is well suited going into this year’s competition. Ashby is about to put a cap on his best season of wrestling since he joined up with coach Gamberg when he was in middle school. According to the senior, he has earned more “Outstanding Wrestler” awards at meets this year than he ever has before. But those awards mean nothing compared to that elusive state title.
“Winning state for my first time during my senior season would be like the greatest thing ever,” Ashby said. “I would trade all the awards I’ve gotten this season to graduate as a state champion. I think this is the year.”
Either way, it doesn’t look like Ashby is done wrestling, as he is looking to continue his athletic career at Lassen Community College in Susanville, Calif.
But his mind is on the title and he’ll get the chance on Friday when the State Championship meet starts inside the Winnemucca Events Center at 1 p.m.