Moapa Valley Progress
The Pirate wrestlers culminated their season on Friday, Feb 9 at The Orleans in Las Vegas at the Nevada State Championship tournament.
Pirate senior Zachary Anderson (138) started the tournament for the Pirates wrestling Dylan Grossell from Pahrump. Anderson had two previous losses to Grossell in the regular and post season, both extremely close. This match was no different.
Battling each other tough, the match was locked up at 0-0 going into the third period. Anderson had the best opportunity to score choosing the bottom position. He immediately stood up on the whistle and began fighting for hand control. Grossell force him out of bounds and both wrestlers returned to the center to restart. Anderson popped up again and attempted to escape only to be forced out of bounds again. After resetting a second time, Anderson immediately stood up again and was again forced out of bounds.
With a call neither coach had ever seen in their multiple decades involved in the sport of wrestling, the referee called Anderson for a Technical Violation saying he was fleeing the mat. This awarded Grossell with one penalty point.
The wrestlers reset a third time and Anderson was finally able to get his escape. With the score tied, Anderson was forced to push the pace and try to score.
Grossell ended up taking him down to make the score 3-1 Grossell. Anderson then got a reversal and almost had Grossell on his back. But the match ended tied at 3-3.
Anderson got taken down in sudden victory and lost the match 5-3.
“After the match, three coaches from other teams approached us and said they’d never seen the bottom wrestler get called for fleeing the mat after standing up and attempting to escape three times in a row,” said Pirate assistant coach Ryan Anderson. “It was a horrible time for the referee to make such an unprecedented call!”
With that loss, Anderson was forced into the consolation bracket where he lost his second match 14-9. This eliminated him from the tournament.
Hayden Redd and Cropper Henrie also had a tough tournament losing two matches in a row by fall to some outstanding wrestlers and quickly getting eliminated from the tournament.
Gavin Henrie, the top seed for the Pirates, lost his first match to Marcel Poracky from Churchill County. He then came back and won his next match against Angel Pinzon by major decision (13-2) to put him in the consolation semifinals.
There he would face Alexander Herrera from Sunrise Mountain. Herrera had two previous regular and post season wins against Henrie. But in this match, Henrie wrestled an extremely smart and fundamental match ending up beating Herrera when it counted (4-3).
That put Henrie into the consolation finals where he faced the #1 seed from the north, Carl Hansen from Elko. Unfortunately Gavin lost that match. But he still came away with 4th place earning his way onto the winner’s podium.
As a side note, Poracky from Churchill County ended up taking state as the #3 seed.
“It should be noted that Gavin accomplished something very few athletes are able to,” Anderson said.
He explained that Henrie had suffered an ACL his sophomore year and a broken femur his junior year. Thus he had very little time competing compared to many wrestlers who, not only wrestle year round, but also start when they are in elementary school.
“Despite that, Gavin grew by leaps and bounds and worked extremely hard,” Anderson said. “In less than two full years of wrestling, he was able to take 2nd in the regional tournament and 4th in state. Improving that quickly is almost unheard of in such a difficult sport.”
The Pirates had a great season. They are already looking forward to next year where they will have some returning state qualifiers, returning up-and-comers and hope to field a full team (as well as a few JV wrestlers) as they continue to build their program and get back on top as a team.