Senators fourth after opening day of Northern 4A Regionals

SPARKS -- One thing is certain when it comes to the Northern 4A Regional wrestling tournament -- nothing is certain.

Even so, the Carson Senators emerged in relatively decent shape from the opening day of the tournament when they advanced six individuals to the semifinals and moved into fourth-place as a team during competition in The Brickhouse at Sparks High School.

Perhaps the top surprise was Elko's surge to the top of the team standings, as the Indians took an 82.5-79 lead over pre-tournament favorite Churchill County while Galena was a close third with 75 points. Elko has 10 wrestlers in the semifinals, while Churchill and Galena have eight each.

Carson held a slim edge in fourth with 54 points, just ahead of Reno (53.5) and Wooster (53). The Senators aren't out of the championship picture coming into today's conclusion, according to coach Dean Schmanski.

"We're in good shape. We've got six in the semis and all 13 of our guys are still alive," Schmanski said. "We want to wrestle to our potential tomorrow. If we do that, I truly believe everyone on our team can place."

Last year, Carson led after the first day, only to see Douglas come back to capture the championship.

The Tigers are currently seventh with 41 points at the end of what turned out to be a scary day when senior 189-pounder Dan Molina was taken to the hospital with an unknown injury. Molina, a state tournament qualifier last year, was pinned in his first match by Churchill's Jeff Prinz. Immediately after the end of the match, Molina was rushed off the mat and transported to Washoe Medical Center.

Carson's six semifinalists include 112-pounder Eric Aguilera, Chris White (130), Paul Carter (140), Chris Ceccarelli (160), Nick Shine (189) and Allen Wooldridge (215).

Even in defeat, freshman 125-pounder Ahron Osherhoff was another bright spot for Carson when he battled No. 1 High Desert seed Jason Thomas of Elko close. Thomas won the match 8-4 to reach the semifinals.

"There were no real surprises. We got wins from the guys who were supposed to win," Schmanski said. "But zone is a weird tournament. This is only a 14-team tournament -- I mean, we've been to much bigger tournaments -- but something happens when you get to zone. You never know what's going to happen and you saw that today because some No. 1 seeds got beat."

Chief among the surprises came in the 171-pound weight class where both of the No. 1 seeds from the Sierra and High Desert leagues lost their first matches -- Churchill's Darren Lewis dropped a 10-7 decision to Wooster's unseeded Luis Najera and Hug's Apollo Leighton was beaten 14-13 by Elko's unseeded Eric Hooiman.

Douglas senior Grant Hall escaped with a 12-7 win over McQueen's Matt Twichell to reach the 171-pound semifinals. Three other Tigers advanced to the semifinals, including Raymond Gabriel (160), Matt Yaquinto (119) and Bryan Kaplan (103).

Galena's list of semifinalists includes Joe Sanford (103), Joel Rivadeneyra (112), Mike Sanford (119), Joe Milegich (125), Spencer Christian (130), Micah Parker (135), Kyle Knox (140) and heavyweight Jeremiah Jones.

Jones has finished as the heavyweight runner-up each of the last two years behind Kelly Anundson of Sparks and the two are in position to meet again if they win their semifinal matches today.

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