After a state runner-up finish at 113 pounds his freshman year at Bishop Gorman, Owen Lawrie painfully sat out last year because of Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association transfer rules.
The junior is making the most of his comeback at Faith Lutheran.
Lawrie pinned both of his opponents at 126 pounds Friday at Mojave to move into the Division I-A Southern Region championship semifinals. If Lawrie finishes in the top four, he will advance to next Saturday’s state tournament in Primm.
“It felt good to get back into the big tournament,” Lawrie said. “My first match was getting warm, and then the last match was a big deal. The gym was pretty packed. It felt good to take it to a quality kid, obviously a state champ so (it was) no joke.”
Lawrie pinned Virgin Valley’s Cash Crandall in 2 minutes, 50 seconds in the quarterfinals. Crandall won the 106-pound state title last season and was the only state champion to return to this year’s region field.
“I thought he was pretty confident (like) all the Virgin Valley kids,” Lawrie said. “He’s their guy, so it felt good to beat their guy. When you go out there and wrestle, anyone can win.”
Lawrie credits his time off as a major boost to his skill. During that time, he was still pushing his teammates in practice and watching attentively.
“I just kept that fire burning for this year,” Lawrie said. “I’m just happy to be back here and wrestling. It’s what I love to do. It’s what I was born to do, and I love it. My plan is to pin through regionals and state. I’m expected to win it on our team and I feel like in the state as well.”
Faith Lutheran is in third in the team standings after the first day with 65 points. Pahrump Valley ended the day on top with 120 points, with Boulder City (77 points) second.
Pahrump coach Craig Reiger was pleased with how his team performed as the Trojans advanced 12 wrestlers to the semifinals.
“It’s just good to see,” Rieger said. “Everything goes in cycles. Some years you’re up, some years you’re down. We have three seniors, but 10 juniors. That junior group were varsity as freshmen and took their lumps. Last year as sophomores, they learned a lot. Now they’re juniors and are giving it back.”