RENO - Four Carson High wrestlers punched their tickets to next weekend's state tournament in Sparks with impressive performances at this weekend's NIAA 4A regional finals at Reno High School.
Junior Nico Garcia, senior Pat Craugh and freshman Kyle Sharp all finished second, while sophomore Cole McCarthy moves on thanks to a third-place finish.
The Carson quartet will be joined by Douglas' Dillon Spates, who won the 130-pound championship.
Carson finished fourth with 107 points. Spanish Springs and McQueen tied for first with 144 points while Reed was third with 111.
"Considering how young we are, it wasn't a bad job," Carson coach Tim McCarthy said. "I was hoping for more, though. I thought maybe we would be able to get a couple more through to state."
Sharp pinned Hug's Adrian Rodriguez in the semifinals to reach Saturday's finals against McQueen's James DeLeon.
DeLeon built an 8-0 lead into the second period before pinning Sharp right before time expired in the period.
"I was a little nervous for tonight's (final) match," Sharp said. "It wasn't my best match. I could have done a lot better."
Sharp, who was one of Carson's hottest wrestlers coming into the event, didn't seem surprised that he reached the finals.
"I've wrestled a lot of these guys in SWA," Sharp said. "I felt like I could do well.
"I just started getting in the right frame of mind. I've been working hard in practice; working on basic things to help me get better."
McCarthy continues to be impressed with Sharp, the lightest guy on the roster and maybe even in the tournament.
"He's maybe 99 pounds after a full meal," McCarthy said. "He wrestled really well."
Craugh, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to McQueen's Joseph DeLeon, who beat Craugh 5-1 earlier this year at the Sierra Nevada Classic.
"It was better than the last time," said Craugh, who was disappointed that he didn't win the title, but happy to be making another trip to the state meet. "He really wasn't as active as he was the first time. He did a good job of scrambling. I was getting too high with my hips."
Craugh said he hopes for an opportunity to beat DeLeon at Spanish Springs next week.
The Garcia-Steve Elicegui 160-pound battle was a rematch of last year's 11-9 epic won by Wooster's Elicegui. Unfortunately, this one wasn't as close as Elicegui won 11-3.
Garcia trailed 2-1 after the first period, but surrendered a takedown and near fall in the second period to fall behind 7-1. Garcia got two more escape points in the third period, but it wasn't enough.
"Nico is probably not happy with that performance," McCarthy said. "Nico has gotten quite a bit better this year, but so has Elicegui."
Spates had an easy time in the finals, cruising to a 17-5 win over McQueen's Jeff Lobos.
Lobos led 2-1 after the first period, but Spates took the lead for good, 6-5, late in the second period with a nice takedown. He finished the match with two three-point near falls to grab the majority decision.
The 125-pound McCarthy suffered a second-round pin at the hands of North Valleys' Allan Vazquez in the semifinals, but pinned Spanish Springs' Jason Cotham to reach the consolation finals.
McCarthy pinned McQueen's Mike Paulk to earn his state berth.
"I thought I had a chance," Cole McCarthy said. "The pins helped out with our team points and got me off the mat faster.
"I knew I could turn him (Paulk) with that move, and when I got him on his back that final time I tightened it up."
Coach McCarthy, who was disappointed with his son's effort against Vasquez, was pleased to see him bounce back with the two pins. A year ago, the younger McCarthy took fourth and missed state. The coach admitted he was concerned whether his son would be able to bounce back from being pinned.
"Absolutely I was," the elder McCarthy said. "I've seen it happen a lot. You lose (and don't wrestle well) and then you can't get your head back into it and you lose a match you should win."
The Senators had some close misses, as both Nick Lani (119) and Jordan Luhrs (140) reached the semifinals only to lose twice on Saturday and finish fourth, one spot away from a berth in the state tournament.
Lani got a bye and then pinned Jonathan Truehill of Hug in just 17 seconds.
That earned him a spot in the semifinals against Bo Bettinson of Reno, who pounded the Carson youngster 12-1.
Bettinson used a takedown and three-point near fall for a 5-0 lead. Lani managed an escape right before the end of the period to make it 5-1.
After a scoreless second period. Bettinson produced a takedown and two near falls for the major decision.
After Lani pinned teammate Tristian Wadsworth in a consolation match, he ran into Manogue's Willy McDonald and was pinned. McDonald led 9-0 before putting Lani on his back with 58 seconds left in the second round.
Luhrs, like Lani, was impressive on Friday with a pin against Douglas' Branden James and a 4-1 win over North Valleys' Taylor Hagar. That earned him a spot opposite Reno's Joey Lavalle.
It was over in 18 seconds, as Lavalle made a nice shot and then rolled Luhrs.
Luhrs then ran up against Spanish Springs' Zach Perez, who had recorded two pins on Friday before losing to Damonte Ranch's Kenny Nez in the semifinals.
Right before the end of the first period, Perez had a two-point near fall for a 4-0 lead. McCarthy questioned the call to no avail. Perez built the lead to 6-0 with a quick takedown in the second period before pinning Luhrs with 1:01 left in the second round.
Wadsworth also had a nice tournament, posting a 2-2 record, before being eliminated by Lani.
"It's the same thing he (Wadsworth) did last year," McCarthy said, referring to Wadsworth. "He was our No. 2 guy last year behind Pat Craugh and he was able to win a couple of matches."
Wadsworth was pinned by Manogue's McDonald 36 seconds into the opening round match.
Wadsworth pinned Reed's Jason Hallahan in his second match and then pinned Damonte's Rathada Heng, just three seconds into the second round. Then came the aforementioned loss to Lani on a first-round pin.