When the Carson High wrestling team came away with a third place finish last weekend at the Vietnam Veterans Tournament in Winnemucca, it was in no mood to celebrate.
After all, Carson was the defending champion in the event. CHS coach Dean Schmanski was hard on his wrestlers and his wrestlers were hard on themselves.
But then Schmanski looked at the caliber of competition that Carson faced at the event and realized a third place finish wasn't that bad.
Schmanski said he believes that all the hard work his team has put in and tough competition it has faced will pay off at the end of the year -- and years to come. The tough competition will continue on Friday and Saturday when Carson competes in the Sierra Nevada Classic at the Reno Livestock Events Center. Competition is set to begin at 9 a.m. Friday.
About 90 teams, mostly from all over the West Coast and California, will compete in the event. The event will give Carson wrestlers a chance to see how they stack up against some of the best wrestlers around, including the best wrestlers that California has to offer.
The tournament is just one of many tough events in the Senators' schedule this season. Carson will still have tough events at the Nor Cal and Albany Invitationals in California.
"To me, all the tournaments are practice for zone," Schmanski said.
The tough schedule is also designed to develop the type of program that Schmanski wants in the future.
"We're building a program," he said. "Most definitely, Carson has to take it to the next level."
At first, the Senators were disappointed with their finish in Winnemucca.
"I was pretty hard on the guys for not winning that tournament," Schmanski said.
But Carson's third place finish was still impressive. Fallon, which is among the teams that Carson figures to battle for the Northern 4A title, won the event with 239 points.
Vallivue of Idaho placed second with 205.5 and the Senators weren't too far behind at 189.5. Vallivue is the defending Idaho state champion. Burns of Oregon, which placed fourth, is the defending 3A Oregon state champ.
"The quality of teams at Winnemucca this year was above that in the past," Schmanski said.
Carson also has an impressive second place finish at the Coronado Classic against top Southern Nevada teams. The Senators placed second to Palo Verde, which was second last year at state.
Schmanski said he hopes this year's team can equal or improve on last year's finish at the Sierra Nevada Classic. That would place Carson somewhere in the top 20. "It's a very competitive tournament," Schmanski said.
Two Senators who Schmanski has high hopes for are Eric Aguilera at 112 pounds and Nick Shine at 215. Both won titles last weekend at Winnemucca. Aguilera is 14-1 and Shine is 13-1.
Schmanski said he believes both wrestlers can place this weekend. Shine placed at last year's tournament. Schmanski said he hopes Shine can do at least as well or better than last year.
Another wrestler who could place for Carson is Allen Wooldridge at 189. Wooldridge is 12-4 this season.
Two freshmen who will be exposed to tough competition for the Senators will be Mark Graham (103) and Jonas Schenzel (130).
"It's going to be an eye opener for these freshmen," Schmanski said. "But it's a great experience for them."
Other top wrestlers for Carson this weekend could include Chris White (135), Paul Carter (140), Micah Whitcome (145), Joe Roman (152), Chris Ceccarelli (160) and Jason Klug (heavyweight). All placed last weekend.
Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.