Battle Mountain wrestling pulls out of state tourney after quarantine notices sent out

Insert primal scream here

Battle Mountain's Anthony Sanchez and teammate Jeremiah Vasquez withdrew from Saturday’s 4A state-wrestling tournament due to COVID-19-related issues. (Daily file photo)

Battle Mountain wrestling did not attend Saturday’s 4A state tournament, ending the season for state hopefuls Anthony Sanchez (170 pounds) and Jeremiah Vasquez (heavyweight).

While Huskies athletic director Gentry Nixon would not address the specific health condition of Sanchez and Vasquez to conform with privacy laws, she did say, “I can tell you I sent out — and this is public knowledge — 17 quarantine notices and half of them were for wrestling student-athletes.”

“Thursday and Friday (when the notices went out) have been the two toughest days we’ve had this year,” Nixon said. “I was devastated. That’s the best word I can use to describe it. I have cried many times in the last two days.”

Devastating is a good word, as are crushing, desolating and calamitous. It’s not just that Sanchez and Vasquez are seniors — which is devastating, crushing, desolating and calamitous enough — it’s what these two have meant to Battle Mountain athletics during the last four years.

Both are three-sport athletes (football, wrestling and baseball) in this era of sports specialization. Both got to the varsity levels of their sports earlier than they probably should have because their teams needed them. Despite being thrown in the deep end of the pool early in their careers, Sanchez and Vasquez have thrived as their careers have developed.

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When Sanchez got the handoff in football, more often than not, he was running behind Vasquez’s blocks. Playing football at Battle Mountain can be tough, yet these two persevered and they got a just reward with a three-game winning streak to finish their senior football campaign.

And before the two become the Boys of Summer this spring, they have been rocks of the wrestling program. Both had made state three years running.

For the Vasquez family, this development is hard to describe. Not only did Vasquez finish third in the state at heavyweight last year and was one of the favorites for the top step this year, but he’s also the son of the team’s coach, Angelo.

Wrestling runs in the family. Angelo was Battle Mountain’s first qualifier for the state tourney when the school moved from Class 3A to 4A during the 2000-2001 school year. He stayed active in wrestling after he graduated, eventually becoming the head man of the program for which he used to wrestle.

And Angelo was understandably excited in both of his roles as coach and Dad for his son this weekend. If you’re wondering, had Jeremiah Vasquez and Eagle Valley’s Abraham Garcia won their first-round matches, they would have met in the semifinals in a much-anticipated bout.

Vasquez won Round 1 in triple overtime, while Garcia got his revenge last week with a pin at regionals. Everyone wanted Round 3.

Lest anyone think coach Vasquez plays favorites — he doesn’t — Angelo described Sanchez when he made state last weekend as “the type of kid who keeps me coming back to coach every year.”

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