By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
LAS VEGAS - For the Carson High wrestling team, sophomore Nick Schlager has hopefully set the tone for the future - for himself and the program.
On an otherwise tough day for the Senators, Schlager came back for two wins to take third at the NIAA 4A State Championships to become the only Senator wrestler to place at the event on Saturday.
Damonte Ranch, Fallon, Galena and Douglas all had outstanding events.
The Mustangs had three state champions: Jordan O'Neil (119 pounds), Brock Frank (152) and Trey Edmunds (160). Galena had two wrestlers place, as Doug Del Porto (125) won a state title while Jeremy Wilson (130) took third. Douglas also had two wrestlers place: C.J. Wynar (fourth, 135) and Tony Ferris (second, 189). Fallon had one state champion in Trent de Braga (145) and almost had another in Trevor de Braga (160) if it wasn't for Edmunds, who beat de Braga in a sensational - and controversial finish.
Damonte Ranch had two other finalists in Garrett Hekhuis (112) and former Carson Bulldog Micah Chalk (171). Chalk almost gave Damonte Ranch its fourth title, but was edged 6-5 by Mojave's Alex Proffitt.
In the team standings, the Mustangs were second (1441Ú2 points) behind Mojave (206). Fallon was fourth (91), Galena was sixth (52) and Douglas was eighth (39).
In the third-place match, Schlager wrestled Green Valley's Mason Saldana, who Schlager beat in the quarterfinals 9-7 on Friday.
Schlager was down 8-5 heading into the final period when he and coach Tyson Thivierge made a gutsy decision that paid off handsomely. With the option, Saldana as expected started down. But instead of allowing an escape to give him a better chance for a takedown in an attempt to come back, Schlager decided to stay on top. Schlager ended up turning Saldana on his way to pinning him for third.
"Since I was down I had to get a few points," Schlager said. "I was going to try to get the tilt (turn).
"That worked the last time (in the first meeting). The match before I got a tilt a few times."
Schlager also said it was simple math as to why he didn't allow a mistake.
"I was down by three," he said. "A takedown wouldn't do it."
Thivierge said there was really no strategy involved at all.
"It's hard wrestling somebody twice in a tournament," Thivierge said. "The only strategy was consistently attack. He never, ever gives up. He can overcome adversity. He can overcome a loss. That's a testament to his dedication."
Thivierge said Schlager's finish is a positive not Carson can build on for next year.
"He's been an incredible kid to coach and we've had a lot of fun with him. It bodes well to have a sophomore step up to the plate and wrestle real well. It sets the tone for next season is what it does."
Schlager also said the Carson coaching staff deserved a great deal of credit for his finish.
Schlager advanced to the third-place match with a 10-6 win over Las Vegas' Jonathan Garcia. Schlager trailed 4-1, but came back to eventually go ahead for good on a takedown and a near fall.
The day began well for Carson when Todd Banko (130) won his consolation pigtail match by technical fall, 18-2, over Las Vegas' Jay Egan. But that was the only win for Carson other than Schlager's victories.
In his consolation semifinal, Martin Azzam (145) led Arbor View's Stephen Ireland 6-5 in the final period, but ended up losing 10-6 after giving up a takedown and near fall.
"The other guys it just wasn't there today," Thivierge said.
In a rematch of last year's 112-pound finals, Del Porto beat Palo Verde's Glenn Terrano 5-1 for the second straight year for his second straight title.
"I was just looking for the state title," Del Porto said. "That's a goal from the beginning. I kind of expected what I expected last year, which was an awesome match. Everything was pretty much expected, but the outcome. The outcome is hopefully what you work hard for."
De Braga rolled to a 10-0 win over Mojave's David Jordan. "I knew he was good on his feet," de Braga said. "I knew if I would get on top, I would dominate. I knew he was a scrambler, so basically I just tied his arms up."
In the waning seconds between Edmunds and de Braga, Edmunds was ahead 4-3 and holding onto de Braga's leg for dear life. De Braga had what appeared to be a state-winning reversal if not for Edmunds keeping a hold of his leg.
As time ran out, the officials originally ruled to award de Braga no points, giving Edmunds the state title. But then after the officials conferred, they again decided to award no points, giving Edmunds the state title. But then the officials conferred one more time and decided to award de Braga an escape, giving him a point to force a 4-4 tie and overtime.
But Edmunds went on to take de Braga down for a 6-4 win. Edmunds joined Wooster's Chad Espinoza as a three-time state champion.
In the 135 third-place match, former Carson Bulldog Ricky McDonald beat Wynar 4-1.
• Contact sports editor Charles Whisnand at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1214