Grapplers eye state trophy

Two of Fallon's wrestling state champs from last year, Trae Workman, left, and Sam Goings, work on their technique during practice on Monday.

Two of Fallon's wrestling state champs from last year, Trae Workman, left, and Sam Goings, work on their technique during practice on Monday.

It’s been 15 years since the memorable run at Super State in Elko.

Winning the program’s first team state championship came down to the final match of the night. It wasn’t meant to be as Louie Mori’s club finished second behind Cimarron Memorial but is still longing for that first championship.

The Greenwave has come close several times, placing second as recently as last season in the Division I-A state championship after Lowry added another title to its trophy case. Fallon hasn’t had problems turning in individual state champs after three struck gold last winter, but an absent team title still lingers.

“We never won state as a team. That was always a huge goal to put a team together at that level,” Mori said. “To get a chance at Super State was incredible. It was one of the coolest things sporting wise. Obviously, the goal is to be the absolute best you can be. That’s obviously the direction to get to that level where we’re the team to beat and everyone’s looking to take down.”

Stepping down after eight years as the varsity coach so he could spend time with his young family, Mori’s returned to the mat after Mitch Overlie led the program to a second-place finish at state last year.

“We’re just trying to get into shape, get over bumps and bruises and soreness,” said Mori, who helped running the junior high and youth wrestling programs. “We’re working on technique but keeping it pretty basic. We’re not showing too much stuff. We’re just trying to get them through the transition. Once we get through that part, we’ll be focused and ready in time for the tournaments.”

Mori inherits a balanced mix of wrestlers who have postseason experience, including three state champions, as well as a new crop of inexperienced competitors.

“It’s pretty well balanced. We’re pretty even across the board,” Mori said. “We have experience at every age group. It’s a little different. When I started coaching before, we had three kids returning to wrestle. This year, we have three returning state champs.”

Fielding a team of more than 40 this season, Fallon’s Achilles heel still lingers: Filling all 14 weight classes and with some depth.

“We don’t have a lot of big guys,” Mori said. “We don’t have any true heavyweights. We have a couple kids at 220. It looks like we’re going to be pretty solid the rest of the way.

“There might be a couple kids moving up at some point but we’ll be able to fill most of the classes for duels.”

Despite the consistent challenge, Mori’s optimistic that Fallon will make up for it and give Lowry another run for the state title. The key is commitment and not backing out when things get tough.

“Their program doesn’t allow (quitting),” Mori said. “Their parents don’t allow that. Their coaches don’t allow that. They make sure they’re there until the end. That’s why they’re so strong.”

Mori, though, feels that the program has lost sight of something just as important.

“It seems like in Fallon ... you have a bunch of individuals fighting what’s best for the individuals and not the team,” he added. “We’re a big family still. We don’t have that old farm town attitude where everyone participated. We’re in the middle.”

Even with the first tournament one week away, Mori and his coaching staff are still recruiting wrestlers for the season. He feels confident because the number of resources available can help bring someone up to speed quickly and in time for the league duels.

“We really tried to recruit some football players and it didn’t work out. We’re still trying,” said Mori, who’s assisted by Daniel Shaw, Dave Garcia, Trevor de Braga, Steve Morris, Paul Laca, Darren Lewis and Bill Bursil. “There’s still a chance to get a couple to work out. With the staff I have, I’m confident we can get a kid in late. We have enough help to get the job done.”

Mori will rely on senior David Hughes (182 pounds) and juniors Sam Goings (170) and Trae Workman (152) to lead the way this season after winning state in February. Hughes didn’t compete until the regional because of an injury and that didn’t stop him as he went undefeated.

“We have lots of wrestlers and kids that look like they have the desire to stick with the program, so hopefully this year we will be competing for the state title and do well this year,” Workman said.

Several state qualifiers return as well, including senior Jordan Schultz (152) and sophomores Dylan McAfee (126) and Jack Swisher (145). Sophomore Terry White (106) competed in regionals but lost to Swisher for the state bid. Sophomore Tucker Stritenberger (120) also competed in the regional.

Aside from competing for a championship, the goal is to improve every week.

“We want to make sure kids come out positive. We want them to be in great shape, disciplined and be great kids,” Mori said. “We’re working really hard on their grades already. We want to keep everyone in a positive direction. I’ve always kind of preached the fact that the sport should be secondary to all the other stuff. We’re really trying hard as a staff. Making sure they get a good experience.”

The rest of the senior class includes Conner Card (152), Louie Mori (152), Reed Parsons (152) and Pedro Rubio (195). The juniors are Davis Koenig (145), Bryson Abe (170), Josh Moulton (182), Alfonso Negrete (182), Juan Cedezma (195), Wyatt Hampton (285) and Juan Ledesma (weight unavailable). The sophomore class includes Jordan Boothe (145), Conley Hyde (160), Chad Martyn (182), Kendall Rogers (145) and Chase Hyde (195). Sophomores who haven’t weighed yet include Kobe Abe, Adrian Chambers, Isaac Kelsey, Deaven Chavez and Chandler Clevenger. The freshmen include Mason Smith (113), Dalton Boice (120), Anthony Ramirez (120), Blaine Aicher (120), Leo Aicher (132) and Matt Goings (170). Nate Hutching, Mark Moyle and Robbie Schostag haven’t weighed in.

“Our room has had really high intensity and a good atmosphere right now. Hopefully, it stays that way,” coach Louie Mori said.


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