Miners look for redemption in Metro
The host Nevada Union wrestling team will look to erase some ugly memories when the Metro Conference Tournament kicks off at 10 a.m. today.
The Miners, who had won 13 of 14 dual meets going into Feb. 8th’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Dual Team Tournament, was bounced from the competition in the first round by Golden Valley (Merced), 44-21.
“We took a pretty tough loss. It was our first big test of the season and I’m not sure I’m not sure if the guys were a little bit nervous,” NU assistant coach Shane Valdez said. “It was a disappointment not only for the coaches, but for the wrestlers themselves. They didn’t feel like they went out there and wrestled their best.”
“But they have responded well. I think they’ve used last weekend for motivation more than anything else,” he added.
The junior varsity competition will take place in the new NU Wrestling Facility, while the varsity teams hit the mats over in Ali Gymnasium.
NU junior 152-pounder Mel Bird said he and rest of the Miners are focused.
“We’re trying to put last week behind us,” Bird said. “We’ve been working hard all week. All of our guys have a pretty good chance to walk away with a (win).”
NU will take the mat as the clear favorite with seven No.1 seeds.
Robert McDaniel (112-pound weight class), Drew Maraglia (130), the Bird brothers, Mel and Jon (135), Buddy Brady (145), Wade Sauer (215) and Mike Bock (275) enter as top seeds.
Valdez said the match of the day should be in the 215-pound weight class with Sauer and Yuba City’s John Woody.
Sauer (36-1 overall), who tallied one of NU’s four wins in the team duals, is ranked No.1 in the section.
“We’re looking at Wade being sub- and section champion and going on to fight for the state title,” Valdez said. “It just so happens the toughest competition he has in the section is in our league with the Yuba City kid. Wade already beat him pretty badly, but he’s tough. He’s going to come out fighting.”
Valdez said Brady’s (19-1) match will also be another one to watch.
“Over the last two years, he’s been plagued with injuries, so this is the first time he’s had a chance to show what he’s all about,” he said. “He just pinned the No. 6 guy in the section last week. He’s determined. He’s got a goal in mind and he’s going after it.”
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