SPARKS — Having won five consecutive state championships, Green Valley coach Jon Ferry might have expected to feel comfortable with a lead after the first day of the Class 4A state tournament.
But Ferry wasn’t feeling so secure as his team prepared to leave the gym after Friday’s semifinal round at Spanish Springs.
“I was hoping to be a little better position, both individually and as a team,” he said.
Ferry also was trying to blow off a little steam after a controversial loss by 113-pounder Will Zernich.
Zernich was pinned by Brandon Basa of Carson at 2:48 in a semifinal match. Ferry and his staff immediately protested, saying the official called the pin too quickly.
“I think the official made a crucial mistake,” Ferry said. “The rule is a two-second count.”
The high point for the Gators was 106-pounder Steele Dias, who scored an escape with a second remaining to gain a 3-2 semifinal victory over Anthony Sissom of Spanish Springs.
“(Sissom) is 100 percent legit, and it’s tough that those two had to meet in the semis of a nine-man bracket,” Ferry said.
That win was the difference in giving Green Valley the lead with 93 points. Spanish Springs is second with 87 and Las Vegas third with 57½. Among other Southern Nevada schools, Centennial is sixth with 46, Faith Lutheran seventh with 43, Shadow Ridge ninth with 30 and Cimarron-Memorial 10th with 28.
Both Green Valley and Spanish Springs had four wrestlers reach the championship round, but Ferry said those outcomes won’t be what determines the team championship.
“Who wants to wrestle for third place is who will win the tournament,” he said. “Sometimes that’s tougher to do than to win a championship match.”
Only one championship match features a Green Valley wrestler going head to head against a Spanish Springs wrestler, with the Gators’ Guillian Nakamatsu facing Cole Drescher of Spanish Springs at 160 pounds.
Other local finalists are: Steele Dias of Green Valley (106), Antonio Saldate of Las Vegas (120), Daniel Rodriguez of Cimarron-Memorial (126), Alika Villiatora of Shadow Ridge (132), Wyatt English of Foothill and Nico Antuna of Centennial (140), Peter Enos of Faith Lutheran and Wallace Zernich of Green Valley (145), Joey Mazzara of Bishop Gorman (170), Connor Bourne of Faith Lutheran (182), Robert Razo of Green Valley (195), Elias Aguilar of Bonanza (220) and Mauricio Jimenez of Las Vegas (220) and Arath Rangel of Centennial (285).
In Class 3A, Churchill County leads after the semifinals with 112 points, followed by Spring Creek with 93 and Virgin Valley with 76. South Region champion Boulder City is fifth with 55.
Virgin Valley’s Gage Woods and Rudy Cannon advanced to the finals at 106 pounds, joining teammates Ty Smith (120), Jacob Baird (132), and Cresent Crandall (170). Western’s Diego Ortega (113), Boulder City’s D.J. Reese (126) and Trevor Van Vliet (160), Moapa Valley’s Christian Riordan (138) and Del Sol’s Victor Torres-Parra (182) are the other area finalists.
In Class 2A, Battle Mountain leads with 139 points, followed by Pershing County with 115½. The top Southern teams are Tonopah in fourth with 44 points, White Pine fifth with 40 and Lincoln County sixth with 37½.
Tanner Otteson (145) and Freddy Lopez (220) won semifinals for Tonopah. Lincoln County’s Benjamin Culverwell (106) and Zachary Rowe (132) also advanced to the finals.