Even though the scenario didn't turn out like he'd envisioned, Carson High School senior wrestler Branden Lamborn had no complaints about the conclusion of the Senators' dual meet against rival Douglas on Wednesday night.
Lamborn saw the curtain come down on a memorable note during Carson's final home appearance this season at Morse Burley Gymnasium when he logged a first-round pin to provide a punctuation mark for the Senators in their 49-16 Northern 4A conference triumph against Douglas.
In a break from tradition, the meet's lineup format was switched to allow Lamborn to face Douglas' Drew Hall in a featured 160-pound weight class match. Lamborn responded by pinning Hall in 1 minute, 40 seconds in a battle between a pair of 1999 state tournament qualifiers.
"We set that dual up thinking it would pretty much was going to be the marquee match," said Carson coach Tim McCarthy, whose squad ended its conference dual meet season with a 7-5 record (12-6 overall).
"A lot of times all the pressure of the last match falls on the heavyweights, and that isn't fair, so we thought we'd structure it this way since this is Branden's senior year," the coach continued. "It was nice to see him end that way at home, because he's definitely been one of the hardest workers to come through this program."
Lamborn enjoyed having his moment in the spotlight. In fact, he was prepared to take the mat with the meet's final outcome on the line.
"I thought it would be a close dual," Lamborn said. "I was pumped, then I saw all those pins so I decided I might as well get mine. The whole team wrestled well, we got all of the wins we needed."
Lamborn capped a streak of seven straight Carson victories between the 125- and 160-pound weight classes to break open what had been a close duel.
The Senators picked up 12 points on forfeits at 125 and 140 pounds. Craig Jensen posted the fastest fall of the night, winning his 112-pound match in just 18 seconds, while Justin Sarnowski posted a first-round fall at 130 pounds.
Justin LaPorte, originally lined up with a forfeit, but he wound up with a match when Douglas moved David Tingle up to the 145-pound slot. LaPorte responded with a 6-0 victory.
Jaxon Luhrs further aided the Senators when he rallied to pull out an 8-7 triumph over Duston Maynes at 152 pounds. Maynes had come back from a four-point deficit to take a 7-6 lead on a near fall in the second round, but Luhrs tied it on an escape at the end of the second and went up 8-7 on another escape with 54 seconds remaining in the match.
Despite coming up on the short end of a one-point decision, Maynes was able to reflect on a season in which the Tigers improved their record to 6-4 after going 0-11-1 in 1998-99.
"Last year we didn't do well as a dual-meet team just because we always gave up so many forfeits," the senior captain said. "I've been happy about this year because we've come together as a team. I'm amazed zone is here already ... the season's gone by so fast."
Ron Hall, who only took over as the team's head coach in early January, is looking for more improvement leading up to the Northern 4A zone tournament Feb. 11-12 at Galena High School.
"The kids are improving, but they still have a ways to go," Hall said. "Carson wrestled well tonight and we really didn't."
Among the bright spots for Douglas were Romaine Smokey, who won his 119-pound match by fall in only 36 seconds, and heavyweight Matt Wilcks, who rode two early takedowns to a 5-4 victory against Jeff Scanlan. The win was Wilcks' first at the varsity level.
"Douglas has an awfully good team this year and I'm glad to see that because the wrestling rivalry between the schools really hasn't been there the last five years or so," McCarthy said. "It's nice to have that rivalry because we had a nice vocal crowd tonight.
Notes ... Carson's Chandler Brown (125 pounds) and Jack Brooks (160 pounds) both won their J.V. matches by fall ... Douglas finishes its regular season Saturday with a five-way conference meet at Elko.