CHS wrestle strong again

Brandon Basa

Brandon Basa

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Keith Shaffer summed it up perfectly.

“I feel like I’ve been dealt a pretty good hand,” said Shaffer, who took control of the Carson High wrestling program following Justin Shine’s resignation. “I have high expectations.

And he should have. The Senators have won seven of the last eight Sierra League titles, and have lost just one league dual (to Damonte Ranch) in that span, and that was in the 2014-15 season.

“We have a good group of kids,” Shaffer. “I feel we have five or six kids who could make state and maybe get to the finals.”

That statement is closer to fact than fiction based on last year’s performances. Carson went undefeated again, including a narrow win over Damonte Ranch at home, and six wrestlers reached state.

Terin Keller (106, 3rd), Brandon Basa (113, 2nd), Kyle Rudy (3rd, 120), Nathan Mersino (2nd, 132), Abel Carter (2nd, 170) and Sheldon Miller (3rd, 285) all qualified for State last year. Basa and Miller were the only CHS wrestlers to finish in the top four.

No reason to think all of the aforementioned group couldn’t make a return trip. And, you can throw in Spencer Rogers, who is back after a year off, and Jarod Butler. Rogers had a solid sophomore season before taking a year off to work last winter.

“We have a good group,” assistant coach Nick Redwine said. “I think we’re going to do well. Between Brandon (Basa), Sheldon (Miller) and Nathan (Mersino) you have a lot of years of experience. Everywhere you look, you see kids that have gotten a lot of mat time.”

Basa’s goal is always the same, and that’s to make it to state. Ditto for Miller, who has lost in the semis his previous two trips to state.

Though there’s still a lot to be determined, Shaffer has put together a tentative lineup.

Freshman Eli Thomas is at 106, 113 is open depending on whether Basa can cut a couple of more pounds. If he can’t, he will wrestle 120s. Keller will be at 120 or 126, and the 132 and 138 class is a battle between Rudy, Zach Bumby and Mersino. Rogers and Jake Roman are battling at 145, and Darryll Heyward is at 152. Butler returns at 160 and Jesse Case is at 170. Kellen McDermott (182), Carter (195), John Rowe (220) and Miller (285) round out the lineup as it stands now.

Whatever lineup Shaffer puts on the mat will be facing a daunting task in terms of the schedule.

Carson starts off with the Fallon Duals on Friday and Saturday, goes to Winnemucca the following week and then has the prestigious Tournament of Champions. The always tough Sierra Nevada Classic is Dec. 28-29, and then there are one-day tournaments in California in January.

The Senators’ biggest challenge to repeating will be at home against Damonte Ranch on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. In the last four or five seasons, that battle has decided the Sierra League crown.

“They will be tough,” Redwine said. “We will be ready to go.”


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