Seniors Jimmy Dunagan and Ryan Vanario became the first Eagles to claim individual wrestling titles since Brandon Foster’s 2013 win, ending Boulder City High School’s state championship drought.
Helping guide the Eagles to a third-place finish at the 3A state meet in Winnemucca on Saturday, Feb. 9, with an overall team score of 77, Dunagan placed first in the 195-pound division and Vanario won the 220-pound class.
“It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to break the losing streak,” Vanario said. “It’s an even greater feeling of accomplishment to know that Jimmy and I are coach (Jim) Cox’s first state champions during his time as head coach.”
Northern Nevada challenger Spring Creek cruised to the state title with 236 points, while Boulder City rival Virgin Valley placed second with 83 points.
Ending their prep careers on a high note, Dunagan defeated last year’s state champion Jeff Guthrie from Spring Creek in a grueling 3-2 decision, while Vanario dominated Northern Nevada challenger Setriano Pirrodi from Fernley in a 5-1 decision.
“It was very emotional beating the defending state champ of that weight class,” Dunagan said. “I was very happy that I got to share my last high school match with my coaches. It was the way I wanted to go out and what I had been working for throughout my high school career.”
Junior Ladd Cox (152 pounds) placed second, falling to Churchill County’s Tommy McCormick 17-4 in the final.
“Taking second in state makes me very excited about my progression because it shows me that the hard work I put in in the offseason has started to pay off,” Ladd Cox said. “This also motivates me to work harder this coming year. It will help push me harder during my workouts and practices so that I can improve more.”
Senior Mike Kaposta (285 pounds) ended his high school career with a fourth-place finish, falling to Mojave’s Ivan Parra 5-4.
Losing three of their top-four finishers will certainly be a blow to the Eagles’ state title hopes next season, but juniors Curtis Brown (126), Danny Pate (138), Ayden Fradella (145) and Cade Cowley (170), who all competed at the state meet, return for one last run.
“Third place will help motivate us because it made some of us juniors realize how close we are,” Ladd Cox said. “It will motivate us to go to more intensive camps so that we can become better wrestlers and people as a whole.”
Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.