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SLAM Nevada caps meteoric wrestling rise with 5A state title

Gavin Thammavongsa was visibly tired and shaking off a minor injury he suffered toward the end of his wrestling match Saturday.

But once the final whistle blew and the SLAM Nevada senior was officially a two-time state champion, the pain seemed to go away — at least long enough for Thammavongsa to throw coach Jake Rollans to the mat.

“That was amazing,” Thammavongsa said. “I don’t even know how I did it. I was so tired, but seeing both my coaches super excited and so happy I two-timed (as a state champion), I just got a lot of strength from them.”

The Bulls won six individual state championships on their way to 169.5 points and an easy stroll to the Class 5A state team title at Cimarron-Memorial to complete a meteoric rise for a program that finished second in 3A two years ago.

Spanish Springs finished second with 121 points, and Shadow Ridge was third with 86.

Thammavongsa beat McQueen’s Isaac Garcia by major decision 16-3 in the 170-pound class for his second state title. Anthony Aniciete celebrated his 18th birthday by winning his second state crown with a 3-1 decision over Green Valley’s Terae Dunn in the 138 final.

“During COVID, my brothers created a club called Aniciete Training Club, and we trained out of our garage,” Aniciete said. “We’d also go to different tournaments where COVID wasn’t as bad, so that let us get mat time while making sure mask restrictions and safety were first.”

The Bulls started the day with three straight victories. Josiah Mestas beat Spanish Springs’ Tobey Foreman by major decision 9-0 at 106; Saoul Prado defeated Basic’s Jaxon Mackey by decision 16-9 at 113; and Manuel Saldate pinned Carson’s Lucas Wold at 3:28 at 120. Kasius Graham also won a title for SLAM Nevada by edging Green Valley’s Tyson Cuamba 3-1 at 152.

“We made sure we locked up the team title before the finals,” SLAM co-coach Zach Hocker said. “We pulled every finalist together and said this is your title. We’ve got the team title, so do what you have to do. Whether it’s one or 1,000 (points), we want that title for you.”

Liberty won two of the last three finals, with Melvin Whitehead beating Reno’s Adam Clawson by fall at 1:55 at 195 and Izaya Jackson earning a 6-4 decision over Spring Valley’s Kelze Howard at 285.

Class 4A

Arbor View needed only one individual championship, from Cole Faircloth at 106, to claim the 4A team crown.

The Aggies scored 126 points to hold off second-place Western with 111.5 and third-place Rancho with 103.

Western had three individual champions in Ernesto Figueras (120), Acencion Garcia (132) and Alexander Sulliban (170). Rancho had two individual winners in Caleb LeBaron (113) and Cesar Camacho (152), and Durango also had two in Benjamin Salas (126) and Jeffrey Morosini (220).

Class 3A

Elko scored 145 points to edge Spring Creek with 142.5 to claim the 3A title. Boulder City was third with 108.5.

Boulder City had two individual winners in Hunter Moore (160) and Tyson Irby-Brownson (195), and Virgin Valley also had two in Ethan Workman (152) and Cutler Crandall (170).

Class 2A

Battle Mountain scored 146 points to win the 2A title by 45 points over Lincoln County at The Meadows.

White Pine won the most individual titles for a southern team with three in Casetin Gubler (106), Tristin Gubler (138) and Nathan Dolezal (220). Pahranagat Valley had two winners in Ramzi Hughes (132) and Jacob Griffin (195).

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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