MINDEN - Aided by two late pins and some last-minute lineup maneuvering, the Douglas High wrestling team rallied for a 36-31 Sierra League dual meet victory against Carson in an early season showdown on Wednesday night.
Senior Shane Miller moved up from 189 pounds in a late switch and posted a 25-second fall at 215 pounds, senior Matt Castro won his heavyweight match by fall in 42 seconds and then sophomore 103-pounder Garrett Heckhuis was awarded a forfeit to end the match as the Tigers overcame a 13-point deficit to beat the arch rival Senators before a crowd of about 400.
This was a big one, too, because the league championship has come down to the regular season ending Carson-Douglas meet in each of the last five years. The two teams battled to a 30-30 tie in 2003, but Carson had won the other four championship duals. The Tigers did defeat the Senators in the finals of the Capital City Duals during that stretch.
"The kids wrestled very well," first-year Douglas coach Lamont McCann said. "Everybody did what we wanted, plus."
Furthermore, Carson defeated Douglas 42-24 en route to winning the Damonte Ranch dual team tournament in Reno on Saturday.
"This is the first time we've beaten them and it felt great," Castro said. "Senior year, you've got to get it done. Coach just said, 'Get a win.'"
First-year Carson coach Casey Schweitzer tipped his hat to the Tigers afterward.
"Give them credit, they came to wrestle," Schweitzer said. "Sure, they made the moves with their lineup, but that's not what won it tonight. They won because they put us on our backs and got those pins. They just outwrestled us tonight."
In addition to Castro and Miller, Cameron Ames and Tony Ferris gave Douglas back-to-back pins in their respective 140- and 145-pound matches. Jake Williams scored a 7-1 decision over Martin Azzam to give Douglas an 18-16 lead.
Carson regained the lead when defending Northern 4A Region 160-pound champion Travis Lamborn pinned Nick Ceglia in 36 seconds. Ceglia got a quick takedown and near fall, but just as quickly, Lamborn recovered and got his fall to give the Senators a 22-18 lead.
"Travis forced the issue on his first throw and got taken to his back, but he's savvy enough to get off his back and attack right away," Schweitzer said.
Carson added three more points to its lead when 171-pounder Ahron Osheroff scored an 8-2 decision over Sean Molina.
Then came the key move in this chess match. Miller was scheduled to go out for the 189-pound bout against Carson's Jonas Schenzel. Once Schenzel checked in, then McCann pulled the switch, forfeited the match to leave Carson with a 31-18 lead. However, Miller it freed Miller to move up and occupy a weight that Douglas was going to forfeit - and he delivered six points with the fastest pin of the night.
"We were going give away 215s anyway. That's why we waited for their guy to check in. We waited to see who they sent out, and they sent out the right guy," McCann said. "Then Shane went out and came up big for us."
Miller and Castro won to cut Carson's lead to 31-30. Then Heckhuis, who wasn't even introduced in the pre-meet face-off, came out on the mat and was awarded a forfeit for the 103-pound match.
"We don't have a 103-pounder, which is unfortunate for our team because we're going to have to give away six points in all our duals," Schweitzer said.
Douglas also got a pivotal win at 125 pounds when state tournament veteran Bryan Kaplan scored five points on a reversal and near fall in the final 30 seconds to pull out an 8-4 win against Brian Halverson.
Carson got impressive performances in the lighter weights from 112-pounder Owen Craugh (8-4 win), 119-pounder Todd Banko (6-1 win), 130-pounder Kyle Banko (13-3 win) and 135-pounder Robbie Bozin (pin in 1:45).
The Senators and Tigers return to action on Saturday when the Capital City Duals are held at Carson. The 11-team tournament starts at 9 a.m. in Morse Burley Gymnasium.
And there's still another two-and-a-half months before the regional and state tournaments in mid-February.
"Our philosophy is that it's not where you start that counts, it's where you finish," Schweitzer said. "All of this right now is just practice leading up to zone and state."
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.
Douglas 36, Carson 31
112 pounds: Owen Craugh (C) d. C.J. Wynar 8-4; 119: Todd Banko (C) d. Ryan Olson 6-1; 125: Bryan Kaplan (D) d. Brian Halverson 8-4; 130: Kyle Banko (C) d. Devin Barker 13-3; 135: Robbie Bozin (C) p. Matt Boyd 1:45; 140: Cameron Ames (D) p. Aaron Jolcover 3:24; 145: Tony Ferris (D) p. Dan Bearbrough 2:26; 152: Jake Williams (D) d. Martin Azzam 7-1; 160: Travis Lamborn (C) p. Nick Ceglia :36; 171: Ahron Osheroff (C) d. Sean Molina 8-2; 189: Jonas Schenzel (C) by forfeit; 215: Shane Miller (D) p. Garrett Truesdale :25; 275: Matt Castro (D) p. Tealor McDowell :42; 103: Garrett Heckhuis (D) by forfeit.