When you look at Brady Rivera on the wrestling mat this year, you notice something is different.
For the first time in his wrestling career, he hasn’t cut weight since the football season ended. After wrestling at either 170 or 182 the first three years at Carson, Rivera has moved up two classes and is wrestling at 220.
The Carson senior is 11-2 going into next week’s Sierra Nevada Classic at the Reno Livestock Event Center.
He went undefeated at the Cap City Duals, won his weight class at the Louck Memorial event in Lowry and reached the quarterfinals at last week’s Reno Tournament of Champions. Definitely a good start to his final season of high school wrestling.
“I definitely like wrestling at a heavier weight,” Rivera said. “I like being able to eat. It was really hard to cut weight last year. I’m 212ish right now, and I feel strong. I don’t feel overwhelmed even though I’m giving up weight to some guys.”
Rivera is strong and athletic in his own right. His athleticism and quickness can make up for any strength disadvantage he might beat in any given match.
“Up until the TOC, I was happy with my season,” Rivera said before Monday’s morning workout. “I feel I could have done better. I only had two weeks to prepare; get in shape. I wasn’t in good enough shape for a tournament of that caliber. I’m looking forward to the Sierra Nevada Classic.”
Rivera lost 11-5 in the quarterfinals, and then dropped a 4-3 nailbiter in his next match.
The caliber of the SNC will be good, but it will be an easier event. The TOC is a meat grinder. There are few weak wrestlers.
“Brady has gotten a lot better,” Carson coach Paul Carter said. “I think he could have easily gotten to 195, but 220 is a great place for him to be. He looks strong, lean and fast. I don’t see anybody in his weight class (in Northern Nevada) that can handle him.
“One of the things I’ve seen from Brady is a lot more aggressiveness. It can help him get out of a match in a hurry. He’s wrestling more of an East Coast style. He is starting to buy into more of the physical aspect. I’m trying to get him to the next level.”
Expectations have always been high for Rivera. As one of the elite wrestlers in Northern Nevada, he has made state three times and barring injury, should make it a fourth time.
“He should have high expectations,” Carter said. “He’s a senior, and I’m sure he wants to finish strong. Obviously the goal is a state championship.
“As a senior, he’s taken more of a leadership role. He works his butt off in practice. He goes hard in practice.”
It’s all about the motor with Rivera. He never stops competing. Carson football coach Blair Roman made that comment several times. A defender who has a good motor is one who doesn’t give up on plays, and because of that, can make things happen.
Rivera was an all-league and all-region selection at defensive end in fotball this year, and Roman has indicated he’s on the radar of college coaches. He made a recruiting visit to University of Nevada earlier this year. Where he ends up or what sport he plays is anybody’s guess right now.
“I haven’t decided yet what to do in college,” Rivera said.”It depends on where I go to school and what sport I play. A scholarship obviously would be great.”
And his wrestling future could be decided by how the rest of this season plays out.