3 Individual Champions Crowned
The Incline wrestling team completed its season last weekend in Las Vegas in formidable fashion by going toe to toe with the top competition in the state at the 2A State Championships. The team was very impressive en route to a third place finish behind Battle Mountain and Lovelock respectively. While the placement was a step down from last year's Championship, it was the second highest finish in the program's history. Nine wrestlers qualified for the meet, having finished fourth place or higher at the Zone Championships the weekend prior. Six of the qualifiers were able to wrestle their way to State Tournament medals to propel the team to its top three finish.
The team was led by eventual champions Cody Feliciano at 112 pounds, Jesus Hernandez at 119 pounds and Jordan Cronin at 215 pounds. It was Feliciano's 2nd straight State Title, having won the same crown at 103 pounds as a Sophomore. For Cronin, it was his fourth consecutive State Title, a rare feat only accomplished by a handful of Nevada wrestlers. Cronin previously owned the title at heavyweight from his Freshman through Junior seasons. Hernandez stood atop the podium for the first time in his high school career.
Feliciano entered the tournament as a #2 seed and was able to manipulate his way through the bracket with convincing wins over Gabriel Wilson of Indian Springs and Skylar Hall of White Pine to set up a rematch with Chris Whisler of Battle Mountain, a wrestler he had not beaten in four previous attempts. The State Finals proved to be a different story though, as Feliciano controlled the match from the first whistle and scored a third period fall.
Cronin, Incline's lone #1 seed, cruised to victory with first round pins over each of his three opponents. In the finals match, Cronin was able to hit a smooth ankle pick before turning Justin Cordova of Battle Mountain for the fall. Cronin would emphatically raise four fingers when his hand was lifted by the referee, capping an amazing career as an IHS wrestler.
Hernandez, who normally wrestles his best during the post season tournaments, is no stranger to State medals either. He has captured third in each of the previous two seasons. As a #2 seed, he had to battle through stiff competition, but rose to the challenge and earned pins over each of his opening round opponents Ben Miller of White Pine and Justin Ochoa of ROP. He would earn a birth in the finals against southern #1 seed Richard Raso of Indian Springs. An intense match ensued with Hernandez displaying strength, tenacity and conditioning that was not equalled by his opponent, resulting in a third period victory by fall.
Three other Highlanders earned State Medals. Mike Wegener, a 103 pound freshman first year wrestler, capped off an amazing season which saw him set many freshman records by earning a fourth place medal. Travis Causey, a defending State Champion at 112 pounds, wrestled solid at 125 pounds while also finishing fourth. Causey narrowly missed earning a finals birth when the referee seemingly missed a pinfall against his semi finals opponent, and eventual champion, Jordan Cutler of Round Mountain. Moises Navarro was the other Highlander who earned a fourth place medal at the 130 pound weight class. Navarro is a first time State medalist and was very pleased with his outcome. He split his day with victories over David Luna of Lovelock and Jace Ragland of Battle Mountain.
Other Highlanders who qualified but did not place included Osvaldo Hernandez at 103 pounds, Sean Fox at 135 pounds and Jimmy Markman at 140 pounds.