For Cole McCarthy and Jordan Luhrs, Senior Night was a pleasurable experience.
For the rest of the Carson Senator wrestling team, not so much.
McCarthy and Luhrs posted the only victories, as the Senators were dominated by High Desert champion Spanish Springs 55-8 Thursday night at Morse Burley Gym.
McCarthy recorded a first-round pin against Jacob Cotham, while Luhrs controlled Jake Drescher en route to a 7-1 decision.
"I'm glad that I was able to contribute," McCarthy said. "This was the last time we were competing as a team; as a family (here). I'll look back on Senior Night and remember it. I got to walk out in the spotlight with my parents and people appreciated my accomplishments."
"For me, it was important for me to win my match," Luhrs said. "Winning at home (my last match) was big. I've been wrestling 13-14 years. I'd already beaten Drescher earlier in the year, but he'll be one of the top competitors I'll have to beat to get to state. It gave me a chance to gauge where he's at."
Certainly Coach Tim McCarthy was happy to see two of his seniors win in their last home regular-season matches, but he was extremely disappointed with the outcome as a whole. He said there were several matches he expected to win.
"That was a horrible performance," McCarthy said. "I've been doing this 20 years, and that was the worst effort as a team that I've ever seen. There isn't a whole lot of time to turn things around. Kids are hard to figure out. We just came out super-duper flat.
"I was counting on Sammy (Mercado) for a win and Kyle Sharp. I thought we had a good chance at 126. I thought Nicholas Lani would win at 138. I also thought Colby Brown was capable of winning at 160. Brady (Rivera) at 181, too."
Coming out flat is surprising when you consider Carson edged Spanish Springs for the regional title last year, and Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said that was a big motivator for his team.
"I don't know if anything is ever easy," Imelli said. "Once you get on the mat anybody has a chance to win. Tonight was a good one for us. Last year Carson got us at regionals, and the guys remember that."
Spanish Springs bolted to 24-0 lead on the strength of a forfeit win at heavyweight, a 7-3 win at 106, a 5-1 win at 113 and pins at 120 and 126.
Mercado led 1-0 with a first-period escape, but failed to score the rest of the match against Ryan Long. Sharp's loss was especially hard to take. He led 4-2 when he was pinned in the second round with 13.8 seconds left. Dominic Kinder (126) led 2-0 early in the second period, but fell behind 11-3 before being pinned late in the third round.
McCarthy got Carson on the board with his pin, cutting the deficit to 24-6.
"I just tried to go out and get a pin to get the team going, so I could start something new" Cole McCarthy said. "A pin is going to pump up the team and crowd more than a 2 or 3-point decision."
Spanish Springs won the next three - Rito Hernandez pounded Nicholas Lani 13-5, Zach Perez beat Brady O'Keefe 9-2, and Skylar Schilling lost 6-0 - to take a 40-6 lead.
Luhrs snapped the losing streak with an easy win. He scored on three takedowns over the first two periods. The only point he allowed was on an escape. Carson only got two team points for the win because assistant coach Paul Carter was penalized for arguing too strenuously over a non-takedown call by the official.
Next up is the Placer Duals on Saturday in Auburn, Calif., and then the regional meet at Reno High the following weekend.
"I think we can definitely turn it around," Luhrs said. "We just have to get in the right mindset at practice. We have the Placer Duals to get the kinks out."