Pahrump Valley Times

Tonopah’s Otteson captures elusive state wrestling title

For Tanner Otteson it was a dream come true.

A lifelong quest was realized as he won the 145-pound state championship for Class 2A on Saturday in Reno. This was the senior’s third and final opportunity at the state title.

“I have been training for this all my life,” Otteson said. “My brother has coached me since I was five years old. I knew I would have to wrestle my very best and make zero mistakes to win the championship.”

Ironically, Otteson (14 wins, 1 loss) beat Monty Moore (14-2) of White Pine for the state title by one point, 8-7. Moore lost last year’s state title by one point and beat Otteson for the regional title last week by one point.

Otteson also had to beat another former state champion, last year’s 138-pound champion from Yerington, Adan Pedina, who was the top seed from the north.

“I had a 9-2 lead over Pedina in the second period and as I was wrestling him, he bit me on the right hand,” Otteson said. “And when I told the referee, he stopped the match and he was disqualified from the tournament and did not wrestle again.”

Although the Muckers wrestlers didn’t win the state title, they still placed high, finishing fourth at the Nevada NIAA State 2A Wrestling Championships at Spanish Springs High School with 71 points.

First place was taken by Battle Mountain (194), second by Pershing County (154) and third by Yerington (80) and those schools were all northern schools.

“We did pretty good,” Muckers coach Duffy Otteson said. “Fourth place out of 17 teams is a very good showing. Our boys can hold their heads high and they made me very proud. We had four medalists and that is the best we have done since I was in high school.”

Senior Freddy Lopez (220 pounds), 13-2, also did well and placed second.

“Quite an accomplishment for a first-year wrestler,” Muckers assistant coach Bobby Murray said.

Murray works with the heavyweight wrestlers and had come to know Lopez well. Also medaling was freshman Dillon Otteson (113), 14-1, just adopted by the coach, who placed third.

“He did a great job and wrestled hard, losing only one match in the tournament,” Muckers assistant coach Robert Otteson said. “Not bad for a freshman.”

Finally, another senior, Jordan Berkowitz (285), 14-2, placed fourth in the tough heavyweight class.

“The heavyweights were very tough this season in the 2A Class and Jordan did good also as a first-year wrestler,” Duffy Otteson said. “He had a solid season.”

Also winning matches and scoring points for Tonopah in the state tournament were, Austin Leach (106), John Shiflet (126), Damion Pace (106), Matt Melindrez (152), Caesar Melgar (120), Vance Day (138), Kevin Pope (185) and Kordel Stark (285). The coach said these wrestlers will all return next season with the exception of Stark.

“I am going to miss Kordel next season,” Duffy Otteson said. “It was an honor to coach him in both football and wrestling, he will be missed. I am looking forward to next season and I hope we find new kids to come in and replace our four out-going senior leaders.”