The name Paul Carter is synonymous with Carson High School wrestling.
In 2003, Carter won the 140-pound state championship, and after a successful college career, he came back to the area to teach at Carson Middle School and coach football and wrestling at Carson. After five years of assisting Tim McCarthy with the varsity program, Carter was recently named head coach. McCarthy has agreed to stay on at least for the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach.
Carter inherits a team that has won five consecutive Sierra League titles and won the regional title in 2012. In that five-year span, Carson has gone undefeated in dual-meet battles.
“I’m excited,” said Carter, who begins his second week of practice in preparation for a double-dual in Reno against the Huskies and Fallon on Dec. 4. “When I couldn’t compete anymore in college, that’s when I knew I wanted to coach. I’m a pretty competitive person, so I thought coaching would be the best way to be competitive.
“We have a good team coming back. We have great potential to be the league champions again. Obviously, that is always one of our goals. League championship and regional championship are the first two goals. Winning a state title is also one of my goals. The key is turnout, and here at Carson we usually have a good turnout. We have 50 kids out now, and that gives you a chance to do a lot of good things.”
Carter has five wrestlers back who reached state last year — Sammy Mercado (113), Kyle Sharp (120), Dominic Kinder (126), Nicholas Lani and Brady Rivera. Sharp finished third and Rivera fourth. Those five along with Nolan Shine and Brady O’Keefe have a chance at making state this year.
McCarthy said the program is in good hands.
“I think it’s great,” McCarthy said. “He’s established himself as a really good coach. He’s been a part of this program for five years. I think this a real good thing.”
Carter is glad that McCarthy agreed to stick around.
“It’s awesome,” Carter said. “Tim has been doing it for more than 20 years, and he knows the ins and outs. It’s a huge advantage I think. We do well together. We do have different coaching styles. Certain ways he coaches will benefit certain kids and the way I coach will benefit certain kids.”
McCarthy leaves the program with a 188-57 dual-meet record in 13 years. Also on the coaching staff are 2012 state champ Nikko Garcia, former standout Martin Azzam and Guy Rocha, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
According to Lani, the big difference are the practice sessions and communication in general.
“I think it’s great,” Lani said. “Practices are a lot more physical. Coach can still get out on the mat and train with us, kick our rears during practice. Coach McCarthy is much more reserved. When the match is over, he’ll ask you questions. Coach Carter is much more emphatic, energetic.”
Here’s an early weight-by-weight look at the Senators:
106: Nobody returns at this weight, but it figures to be a battle between Brandon Basa and Casey Stevens.
113: The job is Mercado’s barring injury. Mercado went 2-2 at state last year.
120: Sharp wrestled at this weight last year. Austin Martinez, who wrestled at Reed a year ago, figures to be a starter.
126-132: Sharp has been a stalwart since bursting onto the scene three years ago. He was a regional champ and took third at state a year ago at 120 pounds. Dominic Kinder surprised many by reaching state a year ago, and won a match. He and Sharp figure to occupy these spots. Anthony Estrada
138-145: Lani and O’Keefe figure to occupy these slots. Lani went 1-2 at state last year. O’Keefe barely missed qualifying for state as a freshman.
152: Shine tore his ACL last year; otherwise, he had a good chance to make the postseason. Shine keyed a big dual-meet win over Damonte Ranch with a victory.
160: Skylar Schilling started part time last year, He recently suffered a broken toe and may not be ready to wrestle until after Christmas.
170: Cody Cunningham tore his shoulder up as a sophomore and missed his junior year of both wrestling and football. Carter likes his aggressiveness, and what’s not to like? There is nothing finesse about Cunningham. He is a beast on the field and on the mat.
182: Rivera would like to stay at this weight, but he has to lose around 10 pounds. If not, it’s up to 195.
195: It’s empty right now unless Rivera moves up. Otherwise, you will see a lesser-experienced wrestler move in.
215: Another empty class, but Carter says it will be filled.
Hwy: Football standout Aaron Cowee signed up, and his presence would help a great deal. One thing is certain, if Carson has to forfeit the last three weight classes, its unbeaten streak could end this year.