To say Marc Williams and his Shadow Ridge wrestling teammates are motivated would be an understatement.
The 160-pound senior twice has placed in the top four in the Class 4A state tournament, and he and the Mustangs are coming off a second-place finish in last week’s Mountain Region tournament.
Williams is among a group of nine wrestlers on a quest to earn the program’s first team state title in the Class 4A state meet, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Winnemucca Events Center.
“I’m definitely motivated more,” said Williams, who lost in overtime in last week’s region final.
Williams, who finished fourth in the 2017 state tournament and third last year, also is healthier this season as he takes his final shot at becoming a state champion. Shadow Ridge has had four individuals win state titles.
“I’m a little more prepared,” he said. “Last year I had a back injury, and that kind of messed me up. I feel good now.”
Williams and juniors Noah Gallardo (182 pounds) and Triston Curtis (126) had top-four finishes in last year’s state meet and know what to expect in high-pressure situations.
“Last year I got second, and I think I didn’t push myself as hard as I could have,” Gallardo said. “I’m pushing as hard as can be. One thing I tell (my teammates) is it’s going to be tough. You just have to keep pushing.”
The Mustangs will send six region champions — Curtis, brothers Sam (106) and Noah Gallardo, brothers Weston (138) and Kody Presser (170), and Matt Van Riel (132) — to Winnemucca.
“We think we have the kids,” Shadow Ridge coach Gus Gledhill said of his team’s chances for a state title. “We have some pretty good draws where I think we still have a shot to win the whole thing. That’s the goal of the kids.”
Champions of each of the three regions meet a lower-seeded wrestler in the quarterfinals and can’t face each other until at least the semifinals.
Williams could face defending state champion Justus Scott of Green Valley if both advance to the semifinals.
“When you get to state, everyone is good, everyone is well-coached,” Gledhill said. “We’ve been there before with young kids, and they were shellshocked because there wasn’t an easy match.”
Gabe Talledo (120) was third in the region meet and rounds out the Mustangs’ scoring contingent at state. Alexis Estrada (126) also qualified for state as a nonscoring wrestler.
The Mustangs never have finished higher than fourth as a team in the state tournament.
Defending state champion Spanish Springs will have 11 scoring wrestlers in the field. Mountain Region champion Cimarron-Memorial has 10, and Desert Region champion Green Valley has eight.
“I think it’s between us four,” Gledhill said. “It’s going to be a toss-up.”
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4690.