White Pine High wrestlers traveled to Fernley on Jan. 18-19 for the Walter Marrietta Vaquero Invitational and finished in 12th place with 73.5 points.

Eric Pickens, the 2A defending state champion at 152 pounds, took third place in the tournament in his weight class.

Coach Mark Dolezal said Eric, “had a tough loss in the semifinals to Cox of Reno. But the positive is that he was able to wrestle one of the better 2A contenders, Jason Barnes (Yerington) in the third-place match [and won by pin in 42 seconds]. There is a good chance this was a preview of the state final next month.”

Kegan Hexem (220) also took third place at the Vaquero Invitational. Dolezal said, “Another solid tournament for Kegan, placing third. He lost by fall in the semifinal match to Axel Gonzalez (Pershing County), one of the favorites for the state title. It gives us a good idea of what we will need to work on to improve his results the next time they meet.”

Luke Finicum (160) was a fifth place finisher. He lost in an upset to Brett Ferraro (Lowry) in this first match, Dolezal said, but bounced back through the consolation, winning four matches by fall, then lost in the consolation semifinals to Chris Drayton (Eureka), but came back with a win for fifth place by fall over Taker Eson (Reno).

“Luke has a few things he needs to work on the next few weeks that will make him a factor at the state tournament.”

Nathanial Dolezal (182) wrestled well for the team and came up one match short of placing, going 1-1 in the consolation rounds.

In the championship quarterfinals, he lost to JayDan Vasquez (Yerington). Vasquez is a favorite for state at 182 pounds. Coach Dolezal said it was a much better match than expected. “If Nathanial continues to wrestling like that he is going to be a factor in the regional tournament.”

This week, Jan. 24, the Bobcats were in Tonopah for the league duals. This will determine seeding for the regional tournament at Indian Spring Feb. 1-2.

The state tournament is Feb. 8-9 in Winnemucca.