Carson second after opening day at Northern 4A wrestling

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Carson's Junior Valladares, 15, wrestles Jacob Gil, 14, at the Northern 4A Wrestling Championships at Hug High School on Friday. Valladares won this match.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Carson's Junior Valladares, 15, wrestles Jacob Gil, 14, at the Northern 4A Wrestling Championships at Hug High School on Friday. Valladares won this match.

RENO - Repeating as the Northern 4A regional wrestling champs might be tougher than the Carson Senators expected.

"We're doing what we trained for," Carson coach Tyson Thivierge said. "Each guy is pushing each match to the limit. Where we stand right now, it's tight."

After advancing six wrestlers into today's semifinal round, Carson sits eight points behind Damonte Ranch for the lead in the team standings.

"Any time Carson is right on your tail, you don't want to count your chickens before they hatch," Damonte Ranch coach Kevin Carter said. "Carson's the defending champ and they're obviously the team to beat."

The Mustangs scored 67 points Friday night, with nine wrestlers moving into the semifinals at Hug High School. The Senators ended the first day with 59 points and they lead third-place Fallon by only four points. Spanish Springs followed with 51.5 points and Bishop Manogue rounded out the top five with 44.

"I thought coming in we would be in the top four," Thivierge said. "It bodes well for us being in second. We have six in the semis and we hope to punch all six into the finals."

With Carson still in striking distance of overtaking Damonte Ranch today, Thivierge said the focus needs to be on the individual - not team - standings.

"I hate talking about team standings," he said. "We have another day and anything can happen. There have been years when Carson fell apart in the semis. It's going to be won in the backdoor with the consolation matches."

Fallon, though, is in good position to compete for the team title.

"It's going to be close," Greenwave coach Mitch Overlie said. "I don't think we're out of it by any means. I don't see why all seven can't make it into the finals. Everyone in the semis we beat or have beaten this season already."

For the Senators, taking advantage of their six wrestlers still left in the championship bracket could dictate their chances to repeating as regional champs.

Nick Schlager (112 pounds), Todd Banko (130), Aaron Jolcover (135), Martin Azzam (145), Junior Valadarez (152) and Garrett Truesdell (189) each have a chance of a regional title after winning their first and second rounds. The top three wrestlers advance to next week's state tournament in Las Vegas.

"Every guy in the semis has wrestled tough," Thivierge said. "Todd looked impressive. He looks great right now and he's focused."

Today's action kicks off at 10 a.m. with the consolation bracket's second round. The championship semifinals are at noon and the title matches begin at 6 p.m.

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