The Tonopah wrestling team was represented by three wrestlers at the Nevada State Wrestling Championships at Primm last Saturday. The three wrestlers were Kekoa Elliot at 160 pounds, TJ Ayers at 170 pounds and Tanner Otteson at 106 pounds.
Tonopah wrestler Tanner Otteson in the 106 pound division finished third in the state meet at Primm.
He lost in semi-finals against Dillon Thompson of Battle Mountain, who became the 2014 Champion for Division III at 106 pounds.
Tonopah Coach Duffy Otteson was very proud of Tanner as his coach and as his brother as well.
“Tanner wrestled well at the tournament. He made one mistake that put him on his back against the Battle Mountain’s kid and got himself pinned,” he said. Duffy is convinced that his brother learned a lesson.
“He had been working on a low-outside single and scored two takedowns off of that and also stuck three kids in a chicken wing for pins,” the coach added.
Duffy explained how Tanner felt after the semifinal. “He was upset about the loss to Battle Mountain but I think he is happy with a 3rd.”
His extensive experience was a great value for this important tournament but so were his coach’s tips.
“Before the tournament, I told Tanner that he needed to wrestle with his head and be smart,” the coach remembered.
Duffy knows better than anyone how hard his wrestler has been working the whole year.
“Tanner completed a very successful season for a freshman despite having some highs and lows,” he said.
According to Duffy, senior Ayers wrestled well in the tournament but made two big mistakes that put him on his back.
“I really thought he was going to place this year,” he said.
Duffy said Ayers wrestled well this year.
“TJ has been a huge asset to our team and has helped everyone become a better wrestler,” he explained.
Sophomore Kekoa lost his first match to the runner-up. In his second match, he really pushed hard for win but he ended up losing by points in a close match.
Duffy said Kekoa has big potential.
“As a first year wrestler, he has done a great job. He will be a good wrestler as he develops over the next two seasons,” Duffy said.
Finally, Kyle Dennis, who traveled to Primm as an alternate, did not have the chance to wrestle in the tournament.
The Tonopah wrestling team’s overall score was 16 points in the Division III at state.
The wrestling coach was satisfied about the team’s performance. To have three wrestlers go to state when last year the team was on the verge of being disbanded is a huge success.
“Overall I am proud of our whole wrestling team. They all worked hard every day and got better every week. We ended the season great and hopefully it will be a start to a good season next year,” he said.