The Carson High wrestling team was suffering from somewhat of a hangover effect after a disappointing effort when it was routed on Wednesday in a dual against Damonte Ranch.
But then the Senators quickly turned it around to turn in a solid effort on the first day of the Zinkin Classic at Buchanan High in Clovis, Calif. After a slow start, the Senators rallied to finish in the top 10 after the first day of the event.
Three Carson wrestlers - Todd Banko at 125 pounds, Martin Azzam at 152 and Garrett Truesdale at 215 - advanced to the semifinals and are still in the running today to win titles.
There are 51 schools in the high-powered event. Damonte Ranch and Carson are the only two Nevada schools in the tournament while the rest of the teams are from Northern and Central California.
Late Friday night, Carson was tied for ninth, but not factored into the scoring was Truesdale's pin over Damonte Ranch's Dave Belardes in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals. Truesdale also pinned Belardes on Wednesday. Damonte was in sixth while Clovis was in first and Buchanan was in second.
Of the 11 wrestlers competing for Carson, eight won at least one match. Carson also still has two other wrestlers alive in Aaron Jolcover at 140 and Junior Valadarez at 160. Both are still in the running to finish third.
"They got on to each other and the kids rallied around each other," said Carson coach Tyson Thivierge about his team overcoming its slow start.
Banko and Truesdale went 3-0 while Azzam went 4-0. Banko is the No. 1 seed, but has a tough opponent in the semifinals in Clovis East's Steven Fitzgerald. Banko beat Fitzgerald 1-0 at the World of Wrestling Tournament last spring in Reno. "It was a great match," Thivierge said. "They both match up very well."
Azzam, the No. 1 seed, also has a tough match in the semifinals as he'll face the No. 1 seed from Bakersfield. Azzam reached the semifinals in exciting fashion, winning his quarterfinal match 2-1 in triple overtime. After a scoreless one minute overtime, Azzam was able to ride out his opponent, not allowing him to escape in the second 30-second overtime. Then in the third 30-second overtime, Azzam was able to score an escape for the win.
Jolcover went 2-1, losing in the quarterfinals. Valadarez lost his second match, but won his next two matches to stay alive and is 3-1.
Nick Schlager also had a solid night, going 2-2 at 112. Justin Steele (171) and Max Schadeck (heavyweight) both went 1-2 on Friday.