SPARKS - After winning the Northern 4A regional wrestling championship last week, the Carson Senators entered Friday's Class 4A state championships with seven tough hombres bearing high hopes.
But six of Carson's magnificent seven - including three of its "Four Horsemen" - ran into an ambush and fell out of title contention at Spanish Springs High School.
Only one of the Horsemen - senior Travis Lamborn - advanced to today's championship round, while five Senators will wrestle their way through the consolation bracket with a chance at third place.
Mojave - which brought 13 wrestlers, including one non-scorer - leads all teams with 85 points, followed by four-time defending champion Cimarron-Memorial with 72.50. Las Vegas is third (68), followed by Palo Verde (48), Damonte Ranch (47), Galena (41) and Fallon (38).
Carson is ninth with 27.50 points.
Including Lamborn, eight Northern Nevada wrestlers advanced to the finals.
"I don't think we came out to wrestle," said senior 145-pounder Adam Carmazzi, who lost both of his matches by fall and is out of the tournament. "We wrestled like (deleted). Coach (Justin) Shine said I had a good season though, that I wrestled great. That really helped me. I wrestled better this year because I had tougher competitors."
Carmazzi placed third at regionals.
But if Carmazzi was at the down side of the spectrum, the 160-pound Lamborn was at the up side, pinning Green Valley's Dillon Hoffman in 1 minute, 42 seconds, in the quarterfinals of the eight-man bracket before hanging tough for a 5-3 decision over Cimarron-Memorial's Robert Atwood in the semifinals.
Lamborn built a 5-1 lead against the long and strong Atwood, allowing two escapes the rest of the way to take the win, causing first-year Carson coach Tyson Thivierge to explode out of his chair in joy.
"After losing three straight...these guys worked so hard all year long, I was emotional," Thivierge said. "It was draining on me; it was draining on them. I wrestle the match with these guys. It hurts me like it does them.
"They have to rebound and come back and take third. They have to show they are a proud person and quality wrestler. And they are."
Thivierge was particularly pleased with Lamborn's effort.
"He did a hell of a job," Thivierge said. "In this match (with Atwood), he had to stay disciplined. We knew if (Lamborn) reached, (Atwood) would slide by. At the end he wanted to reach. He knew the kid. He had a short neck and kept his elbows into his sides. Lamborn stayed disciplined, that's the reason he's going to the finals.
"He has one more match. He deserves it. He's not going to look past it. He slugged it out with this kid. I'm proud of him."
Lamborn joked that he was afraid to participate in an interview, saying every time he'd given one in the past he finished third (three times at state, once at zone, once in the middle school nationals, among others). But that jinx is over.
"Thank God," Lamborn said with a grin. "(Atwood) was strong. I don't know, I was gassing hard. I don't know if it was because I was fighting him strength-wise or not. He was definitely strong."
Up next for Lamborn is Bonanza's Daniel Wosick.
"I'll probably have 'The Encyclopedia' check him out," Lamborn said, referring to teammate and fellow Horseman Owen Craugh, who researches opponents on his computer.
With Craugh and the other Horsemen - 130-pound Kyle Banko and 125-pound Robbie Bozin - as well as his other three teammates losing, Lamborn said he felt a little pressure as the last Carson wrestler with a shot at the finals.
"I did. Coach told me not to," Lamborn said. "But I wanted to do it for myself, mostly. It was a little bonus in that, with six of our guys dropping out, I can't let Carson go without at least one guy in the finals. I just want to win. I don't care about anything else. I just want to win."
So did his teammates, but it wasn't their night.
Bozin opened with a 7-1 decision over Bishop Gorman's Brendon Dolby before Green Valley's Edgar Hernandez pinned him at the 1:30 mark.
"We said you can be overly aggressive and Bozin was," Thivierge said. "He had the guy in a single (leg hold) and got caught. He got hit with some funk. I feel horrible. Robbie had a great week. So did (Kyle Banko). They worked their asses off. I feel for each one of the guys. But they know what to do. They'll bounce back and wrestle solid tomorrow."
Kyle Banko took a 14-2 major decision over Canyon Springs' Rafael Alcala before Bishop Gorman's Steven Hernandez rallied from behind two times and pinned Banko at 3:23.
Banko will meet either Reed's Mitchell Payne or Bishop Manogue's Gary Albright today, while Bozin will take on Galena's Jeremy Wilson. Wilson beat Bozin, 4-3, at zone.
Kyle's brother, 119-pound Todd Banko, lost a 4-1 decision to Palo Verde's Glen Terrano in the quarters before taking a 16-5 major decision over Tommy Ford of Las Vegas in the consolation bracket.
"I started out rough and had a tough match," said Todd Banko, who finished third at state last year. "But I came back with a win. I look forward to tomorrow. I'm taking it one match at a time."
Todd Banko will meet Green Valley's Landon Saldana in today's consolation bracket.
Craugh opened with a 15-0 technical fall over Coronado's Mark Rillera, but lost, 7-5, to Mojave's Jake Evans at 112 pounds. Craugh will face Hugo Carillo of Las Vegas today.
Carson's Martin Azzam lost a 3-1 decision to Green Valley's Wesley Goldbaum and will meet Cimarron-Memorial's Brogan Ashjian today.
"They'll keep their heads up," Thivierge said of his wrestlers. "They'll have good day. We'll rebound from this."
Damonte Ranch has two wrestlers in the finals. Jordan O'Neal will meet Mojave's Jake Evans for the 112-pound championship and teammate Trey Edmunds and Palo Verde's Kyle Barrett will clash for the 152-pound crown.
Fallon and Galena each have two wrestlers in the finals and South Tahoe has one.
South Tahoe's Elliot Pekar and Fallon's Trevor DeBraga will face off for the 145-pound championship, while Fallon's Lyle Gardner will meet Cimarron-Memorial's Neil Spencer for the heavyweight championship.
Galena's Doug Del Porto and Palo Verde's Glen Terrano will vie for the 119-pound title and Galena's Nick Williams and Durango's Victor Matthews will tangle for the 215-pound crown.
Consolation action begins at 9:00 a.m. and the finals are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Spanish Springs High School.