The annual Reno Tournament of Champions is billed as the "Toughest Tournament in the United States", and with good reason.
The two-day event (Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m.) at the Reno Event Center draws teams from all over the country, including Canon-McMillan of Pennsylvania and Broken Arrow of Oklahoma, who are ranked Nos. 6 and 20 in the nation, respectively by InterMat. Many of the elite teams from California will be on hand, including Poway, the defending meet champion.
Coach Tim McCarthy has juggled his lineup for this tournament, the first bracketed event of the year for the Senators. A year ago, Carson finished 32nd out of 92 teams.
Caden Lehman (106) and Nicholas Lani (138) will not wrestle this weekend. Lehman will be out of town, while Lani has a ROTC commitment. McCarthy has opted to leave the 106-pound slot open, and Brady O'Keefe will drop down from 145 pounds to take Lani's slot at 138. Alex Cunningham will fill O'Keefe's spot at 145. Cole McCarthy is dropping down from 132 to 126, and Tristian Wadsworth, normally a 138-pounder, will wrestle at 132.
The remainder of the lineup remains the same - Sam Mercado (113), Kyle Sharp (120), Nolan Shine (152), Colby Brown (160), Jordan Luhrs (171), Brady Rivera (182), Javier Torres (195), Levi Carter (220) and Jordan Woodward (heavyweight).
The elder McCarthy admits that he's taking a bit of a risk by dropping his son, Cole, down a weight class.
"It's probably going to be just for this one meet," coach McCarthy said. "We'll see if he can go further (than last year). Sometimes that backfires, too.
"Cole is kind of a tweener. He's a small 132. He's been weighing in light all year. He's pretty darn lean. Taking 3-4 pounds off is not that easy. He's really having to cut down his portions (of food). It will be hard work to make it."
Wadsworth, who will be making his season debut, is also having to cut weight for this tournament. Wadsworth had been bothered by a shoulder injury earlier in the year.
"It was actually bothering him before the season started," coach McCarthy said. "He's been to the doctor and been cleared to go."
Cole McCarthy got off to a quick start at the TOC last year, winning his first match by pin. McCarthy, seeded 16th, had top-seeded Mitch Brown of Payson-Utah on the ropes a couple of different times, but the official wouldn't give him the fall. McCarthy went on to get pinned in that match and his wrestleback match to go 1-2.
Coach McCarthy said several wrestlers - Cole McCarthy, Sharp, Luhrs, Rivera and O'Keefe - have the best shot at reaching the second day. In fact, based on his summer showing in South Dakota, O'Keefe could be the highest seeded Carson wrestler. McCarthy and Sharp also could be seeded based on their fourth-place finish at the state meet.
"We've got some pretty good kids," coach McCarthy said. "We should have a good turnout. We have a chance to make a nice run here.
"Levi is strong and quick, and he could pin some people. He doesn't have the technique stuff down yet."