Seven wrestlers from the White Pine High team are headed to the state wrestling meet this weekend at Spanish Springs High in Sparks.
Hosting the 2A Southern Regional tournament in their home gym, the Bobcats did not disappoint the partisan home crowd with three championships.
Monty Moore (145), Eric Pickens (152) and Sven Pickens (160) were champions in their weight classes, Zeke Vinson was second place at 160 and Justin Mabson (170), Kegan Hexem (195) and Jorge Chamorro (220) were each fourth place.
The top four finishers in the regional meet advance to state.
Coach Mark Dolezal said Moore’s championship match may have been the best one of the tournament. “He avenged a loss in last week’s duals tournament to Tanner Otteson of Tonopah. The win will now put him on the opposite side of the bracket from Otteson and the top seed from the North at state, and while it might make it an easier road to the finals, Monte will still have to wrestle his best to get there.”
Moore was the state runner-up last year at 145.
The Pickens brothers gave the Bobcats additional points in the team standings by winning their weight divisions. Eric (152) dominated the South this year, said Dolezal.
“This is both good and bad news as he has not had to face the level of competition he will see this week at state,” Dolezal said. “The North is much more competitive and Eric will face a tough semifinal match to get to the championship.”
Anthony Madera of Yerington was the Northern regional champion this year.
Sven Pickens (160) “won his first high school tournament at a good time,” Dolezal said. “Winning the regional tournament is a big step to placing at state. He has faced the top wrestler from the North twice, so we know that he will be competitive.”
Zeke Vinson (160) was the big surprise of the tournament, said Dolezal. “Coming in as the sixth seed and making the finals, a big surprise. Zeke beat the No. 3 seed in the first round and the No. 2 seed (Gerardo Heredia of Pahranagat Valley) in the semi-final.” His only loss was in the finals against Pickens, his own teammate.
Mabson, Hexem and Chamorro were all fourth place finishers. “Mabson had the No. 1 seed on his back in one match, but was not able to get the pin. We look for Justin to be a sleeper in the state tournament. No reason he could not place well there,” Dolezal said.
He said Kegan Hexem was sick all week and was not at the top of his game when the tournament came round, but he still managed to take fourth place. “We hope he will wrestle well at state and maybe pick up a medal.”
Jorge Chamorro had to go into the consolation rounds, but had “his best match of the season in the consolation semifinals,” Dolezal said, “dominating a wrestler (Tyreece Gonzalez of Laughlin) that he lost to the week before in the regional meet. We hope his looks at that match and learns what he can do.” Jorge lost to Jonathan Rodriguez of West Wendover in the third place match.
Tonopah won the team title with 153 points. White Pine placed sixth with 105 points.