Sierra Classic wrestling tourney starts Thursday

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Three Carson Country teams - the Carson Senators, Fernley Vaqueros and Yerington Lions - will be part of a field of 103 entries when the Sierra Nevada Classic gets under way Thursday in Reno.

The tournament begins at 9 a.m. and continues through Friday at the Reno Livestock Events Center. The tournament won't feature the national prep powers like last week's Reno Tournament of Champions, but it's still a high caliber tournament.

"This is still one of the top 10 high school tournaments in the nation," Carson coach Tim McCarthy said. "There are some real studs but at the same time, since there are so many teams, our guys are going to have some chances to pick up some wins."

Carson's two leaders are 135-pounder Justin Sarnowski and 140-pounder Doug Brooks. Both are undefeated on the season and Sarnowski will be trying to earn his fourth place finish at the Classic.

"Justin is one of the top kids in the west, so I imagine he's going to be seeded first or second," McCarthy said of Sarnowski, who placed fifth in the Classic's 130-pound weight class last year. "He's placed at this tournament three times, he was a state runner-up last year and he's a two-time zone champion."

Among the top teams entered in the Classic are perennial California powers Clovis West and Ponderosa, plus Eagle Point, Ore., a team that finished fourth at last season's Oregon 4A state tournament and also won the Capitol City Duals in Carson City earlier this month.

One of McCarthy's goals for this week - not to mention the rest of the season - will be staying away from injuries. The Senators have already lost three wrestlers, including 215-pounder Dan Dunbar, who broke an ankle during a preseason practice; freshman 215-pounder Nathaniel Allen, who broke an arm; and freshman 125-pounder Joe Roman, who dislocated an elbow last weekend at the Nevada Union tournament. The latest injury came as a true setback because Roman had already placed second at the Modoc Invitational and sixth at the Silverado Invitational in Las Vegas.

"Losing Joe really hurts," McCarthy said. "He's extremely tough mentally, he never gives anything up, and just loves to wrestle."


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