First-year Carson High wrestling coach Dean Schmanski knows that expections are high this year for his team.
But he also knows that his team still has a long way to go based on its performance in the preseason. The Senators will receive a tough test tonight when it opens the season at Wooster.
Unlike in years past, Wooster is expected to be one of the tougher teams in the Northern 4A. "They've got seven or eight tough wrestlers," Schmanski said.
The Senators will then host its Capital City Duals on Saturday, with action beginning at 9 a.m. Livingston, Calif., Reed, Reno, Sparks, Douglas, Galena, North Valleys, Spanish Springs and Wooster will all compete in the event.
"We'll get to see where we stand with the rest of the teams," Schmanski said.
With virtually an entire lineup back with varsity experience from last year's team that went 15-0 during the duals season, the Senators figure to be one of the teams competing for the zone title. Carson also has six state qualifiers back from last year's team.
"It's kind of early to tell right now," said Schmanski about making any predictions.
Carson got off to an impressive start on the season, winning 11 of 17 matches in a scrimmage last Saturday at Galena, but Schmanski still saw enough to make him concerned.
"I was happy with some matches and disappointed with others," Schmanski said. "We need a lot of work.
"I saw some things I wasn't happy with. We're a long ways away from where I want to be. We need to pick it up quite a bit."
Eric Aguilera, Paul Carter, Joe Neiman, Joe Roman, Nick Shine and Chris White are all state qualifiers from last season who return this year. Shine placed third and Carter and Aguilera placed sixth last year at state.
With 35 wrestlers on the junior varsity and varsity teams, there's no denying that Carson has plenty of depth and competition. So much so that Roman, a state qualifier from last year, won't even be in the lineup tonight against Wooster.
Micah Whitcome, who has varsity experience from last season, beat Roman 1-0 on Monday in wrestle-offs to earn the spot at 152 pounds tonight against Wooster.
But Whitcome and Roman should both eventually be in the lineup this season, with Whitcome possibly dropping down to 145.
About Whitcome and Roman, Schmanski said he expects to see "both these guys moving their way into the lineup."
It will be interesting to see what happens with these weight classes," Schmanski also said about the middle weight classes.
Freshman Mark Graham will receive the call tonight at 103 while Aguilera will go at 112. Two wrestlers with varsity experience, Kevin Riggin and Tyler Preston will go at 119 and 125, respectively. Kellan Dale will go at 130 and White will go at 135.
Carter will wrestle at 140. "He should be ranked near the top of the state," said Schmanski about Carter. "He's looking extremely good, very tough."
Freshman Loren Wooldridge will wrestle at 145. "He's quick and a fast learner," Schmanski said. "That's a tough class to throw in for somebody who's a freshman. There's a lot of tough competition.
"I have a lot of faith in Loren. He seems to be a student of the sport and that's what it takes to be a champion."
Chris Ceccarelli, another wrestler with varsity experience, will go at 160, and Anthony Nunez will go at 171.
Two of Carson's top wrestlers, Allen Wooldridge and Shine will go at 189 and 215, respectively.
"He should be in the top of Northern Nevada," said Schmanski about Wooldridge.
"There's going to be some challenges," Schmanski also said about Shine's class. "215's full of talent."
Mike Moore, another wrestler with varsity experience, will go at heavyweight. "Mike Moore can be physical," Schmanski said.
Neiman is out with a back injury. Schmanski said he expects Neiman back within the next two weeks and should wrestle at 125 or 130. Schmanski said he will decide on his lineup for the Capital City Duals on Thursday after evaluating his team's performance tonight.
Schmanski said many of his wrestlers worked hard during the off season and among those who were the most impressive were Shine and Moore.