It was a senior night to remember for Nevada Union’s wrestling team as it had a dominating performance on the mat, winning 12 out of 14 of its matches Wednesday at West Gym to clinch its first winning season in three years as it defeated the Rocklin Thunder, 64-12.
“It’s our first winning season in three years,” said head coach Gary Sumner. “I’m really excited about the future.”
NU was never really threatened by Rocklin throughout the dual largely because six of its matches were wins that came by forfeit. The Thunder had a significant absence from their roster, surrendering 36 points.
“I didn’t know until (Rocklin) got here,” said Sumner. “Some of their guys were hit with the flu outbreak.”
Winners of the forfeited matches included Nate Story, Theo Lang, Dustin Lamoly, Matt Johnson, Will Sumner and Earl English.
Despite the inevitable win, the Miners remained motivated and showed lots of energy, some of which was released by Junior Lachlan in his 106-pound weight class match. It was a pleasant surprise for everyone when Jones, who recently returned from injury, pinned his opponent with about a minute remaining in the third period to give his team a 12-6 advantage at the time. Jones was in control most of the match, dishing out take-downs and hardly gave up any position before he went for the pin.
“The first 15 seconds kind of determine how it goes,” said Jones. “I was just waiting and staying patient. He posted his arms up and left himself vulnerable.”
Jones is enthusiastic about his comeback and really like being a part of the Miners squad.
“I was having a nerve issue with my back and legs,” said Jones. “I moved here from St. Louis last year. This is the greatest facility I’ve ever seen.”
Beginning the third period, Jones had fought his way to a 4-1 lead and led 6-3 when he used his observations from the earlier periods to take advantage of his opponent’s weakness.
“I’m very proud of him,” Sumner said. “He hasn’t really wrestled in two years, and he came out on fire with all that energy. I was very impressed.”
Keaton Richards had a few take-downs for the Miners in his 126-pound weight class bout as he battled for a decision and scored a near fall in the third period. Tyler Schwartz earned a major decision through three intense rounds of action, which included a reversal, near falls and several take-downs. Senior Sawyer Mosel also had a big night with some nifty moves to add to his team’s points as he won his match by tech in the second period by a margin of 15-0.
“It was a little disappointing not pinning him,” said Mosel. “I just do what I do in practice everyday. I’m sad to leave, but I’m excited to be where I’m at in my career. Now we have to stay focused … can’t let (the pressure) get to your head.”
Senior night ceremonies had all the seniors greeted by their parents and family members on the center of the mat prior to the match with emotions running high as teammates and coaches had much to say.
“Mosel works harder and makes everyone else work harder,” added Sumner. “Sawyer does my job for me. (Jonny) Callas and Mosel are my captains and two guys I’m really going to miss.”
Senior Callas won his match by pin with 38 seconds remaining in the first period. After a take-down and an escape by his opponent, Callas wouldn’t let Rocklin escape a second time.
“It’s good to get another win for senior night,” said Callas. “I was looking for an opening and did a knee-pick. My brothers and my coach have been really helpful throughout my career. It feels like we’re gaining confidence headed toward league.”
T.J. Hart closed out the evening for NU with an exciting match in the 195-pound weight class. Hart was so aggressive at times that he was called for unnecessary roughness when he lifted Rocklin’s Kyle Grant off the mat and slammed him to the floor.
Grant would not give up and wiggled out of some tough situations to avoid being pinned, but in the end, it was Hart flipping Grant for a quick a reversal and getting an 11-2 victory to move the Miners to 3-2 in the Sierra Foothill League.
Nevada Union will travel to compete in the Mission San Jose Tournament in Fremont this Friday and Saturday, as they continue to prepare for the SFL tournament the following weekend.