LAS VEGAS-It's been more than a decade since a Carson High wrestler captured an individual state title.
But that drought can come to an end today, when Senators Justin Sarnowski and Justin Shine vie for championships at the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Wrestling Championships at Cimarron-Memorial High School.
"We've never had two wrestlers in the finals in my six years as coach, so we feel lucky about what we've done so far," said Carson coach Tim McCarthy. "It will take some of the best wrestling of the year (from Sarnowski and Shine) to win a state championship."
Both Sarnowski and Shine qualified for today's final by winning twice on Friday in the tourney quarterfinals and semis.
Sarnowski, wrestling at 130 pounds, defeated Ray Pineda of Cheyenne in his semifinal. He will face a familiar opponent, Dan Shaw of Fallon, in the championship bout.
"Sarnowski and Shaw have battled many times, with Justin winning last year in the zone finals," McCarthy said. "Justin looked tough in his first two matches today (Friday), but he wasn't really pushed in his semi. Today's the big one for him."
Shine, in the 135-pound division, defeated Pat Foley of Reno 12-9 in the semifinal to advance. He will face Chris Harris of Cimarron-Memorial in the finals.
"It will be a tough test for Shine, as Harris is a two-time state champ," McCarthy said.
Along with the elation of qualifying two wrestlers for the championships, there were a few heartbreaking moments for the Senators on Friday during the meet.
Doug Brooks, one of the favorites in the 140-pound class, was pinned in his opening match by Brian Williams of Cheyenne.
Carson's 215 pounder, Ben Johnson, went into overtime in his opener, but he lost to Brandon Garcia 8-6. The Senators' other state qualifier, 160-pounder Branden Lamborn, also dropped his opener.
According to McCarthy, the three Carson wrestlers who lost Friday can still take third place in their respective divisions if they win all of their consolation matches.
In team scoring, host Cimarron-Memorial is in first place. Carson is in fifth.