Kristina Pickens photo
Luke Finicum going for the take down.

The Ely Times

Three White Pine High wrestlers earned a first place medal at the 2A Southern region tournament last weekend at Indian Springs High School.

Two others placed second and one placed third. In the team standings, the Bobcats earned 113 points for third place.

Coach Mark Dolezal said Eric Pickens, Zeke Vinson and Nathanial Dolezal were first place winners, while Sebastian Lyon and Kegan Hexem were second and Luke Finicum finished third.

However, all advanced to the state tournament this weekend, Feb. 8-9, at the Winnemucca Events Center.

Eric Pickens (152), the defending 2A state champion, won all his matches by fall, first over Michael Profit (Spring Mountain), then Michael Randal (Spring Mountain) and Mathew Melendrez (Tonopah).

“Eric is focused on his quest to repeat as state champion and has placed himself in a good spot at state,” Dolezal said.” His main competition will come from Justin Barnes (Yerington) and Lucas Peavey (Wells), but Eric has defeated both of them already this season.”

In the state tournament his opening match will be against Preston Hubbard (Eureka).

Luke Finicum (160) took third place for the Bobcats. Dolezal said “Luke lost a close decision [to Trevin Perkins, Lincoln County], but was able to bounce back with a consolation round bye, then pins over Eric Washington (Spring Mountain) and Branden Lando (Laughlin).”

His first match at state will be with Daegan McClary (Battle Mountain).

In the 170-pound weight class, Zeke Vinson took first place, also winning his matches by pin over Jack Tierce (Laughlin) and Chad Witte (Indian Springs). 

Dolezal said, “The competition at state will be a lot harder and he will need to be on his game to reach the finals. The 2A North has two tough wrestlers Zeke may have to face, Dylan Hultenschmidt (Pershing County) and Owen Oakes (Battle Mountain). Any one of them could win the title.”

Vinson’s first state match will be against Brice Domagala (Battle Mountain).

Nathanial Dolezal (182) was another first place winner for the Bobcats. He pinned Jake Griffin (Pahranagat Valley) and Brishon Skiles (Tonopah).

“As a freshman who has done well this season,” coach Dolezal said, “this is his first state tournament and he will have to face Caleb Hinkle (Independence) in his first match.”

Sebastian Lyon (195) was a second place finisher for the Bobcats. He had a bye his first match, then lost by fall to Bryan White (Lake Mead).

Dolezal said, “Sebastian hasn’t had a lot of mat time in the past few weeks and is a bit rusty.”

At state, he will face off first with Jorge Chavira (Battle Mountain).

Finally, Kegan Hexem (220) took a second place medal. He first beat Ricky Walker (Spring Mountain) in 35 seconds, but Dolezal said, “He made a mistake that cost him first place [to Tayt Leavitt, Pahranagat Valley].This might be the most competitive weight class at the tournament as five wrestlers have a shot at the state title. Kegan will have to bring his “A” game to the state tournament if he wants to even place.”

 The top four in each weight class at both the Northern and Southern regionals advanced to the 2019 NIAA Class(es) 4A, 3A & 2A/1A Nevada State High School Wrestling Championships, presented by the Station Casinos at the Winnemucca Events Center Feb. 8-9, hosted by Lowry High School.

Battle Mountain is the six-time defending 2A state wrestling champion.