If they were re-making “True Grit,” it would be wise to cast Carson High senior Kyle Rudy in the lead role.
Despite a shoulder injury, the 138-pound Rudy gutted out two wins Friday to reach the semifinals of the Northern 4A Regional Wrestling Championships at Morse Burley Gym.
Five other Carson wrestlers — David Remer (170), Alex Wells (152), Jesse Case (182), Izayah Pando (145) and Ty Evans (195) — will join Rudy in Saturday’s semifinals that start at 10 a.m.
Carson’s team was in third place with 43 points after the first day. Spanish Springs leads with 71 and Reed is second with 60. Wooster (36) and Reno (35) round out the top five.
Rudy had the toughest route to the finals, having to win two matches. Thanks to byes or walkovers, the other five had to post just one win.
Rudy opened his day with a third-round pin of Douglas’ Race Coman, and followed that up with a 9-5 win over Reed’s Joshua Berryman. Rudy never trailed in either match. Berryman did close to 3-2 late in the first round, but a pair of third-period takedowns sealed the win.
“I probably re-tore my labrum,” Rudy said after getting treatment in the training room following his second match. “I hurt it two years ago, and never had surgery. I’m going to wrestle (Saturday).”
That comment didn’t surprise Carson coach Nick Redwine.
“He’s going to go,” Redwine said. “He’s been working closely with our trainer (Adam Hunsaker) after each match. He’s got some pain, but he’s a tough kid. My concern is if he’s going to do any further damage; more damage. I’ve talked to Adam and I’ve talked to his parents.”
If Rudy wins his first match Saturday, he would automatically qualify for next week’s state meet. Would Redwine consider doing an injury default in the finals?
“Absolutely,” Redwine said. “He could injury default in the championship match and go to Vegas. He’s not going to want to do that, and his parents probably won’t want to do that, but we’re going to have that conversation.
“I think it’s 100 percent about that (being a senior). If he was a sophomore or junior I don’t think I would have kept him in this long. Being a senior it’s his last shot to get hardware at state, and I’m sure he wants to make the best of it.”
Rudy said there isn’t a chance he would default if he makes the finals.
Wells edged Spanish Springs’ Patrick Nelson, 4-3, avenging a loss last weekend at the Placer Duals. That weighed heavily on Wells’ mind all week, and he was looking forward to another showdown.
Wells got an early 4-1 lead, and was able to hold off Nelson, who went down shooting until the final whistle.
“I messed up last weekend,” Wells said. “I was winning and I threw him on me. I played a lot more defense than offense. I was scared I was going to get another stalling call, so I just had to throw him around. When I watched film, I saw where I messed up and saw what not to do.”
“It was almost the same match,” Redwine said. “He was beating up on that kid. It was close to the same score, and then he made a bonehead move; made the wrong turn at the wrong time and got caught (pinned). He didn’t expose himself like he did last weekend. He looks tough. He wrestles hard.”
Case had an easy time against Parker Luthy of Spanish Springs, winning by pin early in the second round. He faces North Valleys’ Bobby Crampton in the semis. Crampton is the top seed out of the High Desert League.
Evans, the top seed out of the Sierra League, pinned McQueen’s Ben Sheppard, a non-scorer in the weight class. Evans gets the unenviable task of facing McQueen’s Joe Miller, the High Desert top seed.
Remer pinned McQueen’s Ryan Vera in just over a minute in his only match. He squares off against Douglas’ Chad Singer, who also won his only match by pin. The winner is likely to see Spanish Springs’ Logan Klonicke.
Pando, a freshman, won his first match via a walkover. He then edged Wooster’s Carlos Barela, 6-5, rallying from a first-period 4-1 deficit.
“I came back with a cradle and got a near fall and then stalled him out,” Pando said. “He kept on shooting, and I kept backing out.”
“That’s his (Pando’s) game,” Redwine said. “It’s almost like he has to get fired up.”
Ariel Vega (106), Luis Mayoral (113), Damien Branco (120), Mark Trost (132), Bryce Newhall (160) and heavyweight Brandon Macias all went 1-1 to remain alive. Jeremy Heaton and Cole Ashton both went 0-1.
Newhall, the top seed out of the Sierra League, was pinned in his opening match by North Valleys’ Joseph Castleberry, who didn’t wrestle a league match at 160 because he was behind Garrett Pennington. Newhall rebounded to eliminate teammate Shane Parsley via pin.
Redwine said the first round severely hurt his team.
“I’d hoped to be a little higher,” he said. “We did well in the middle and toward the end. The first round I was kind of disappointed and embarrassed at how we wrestled. We had a team meeting and I told them being on our own turf and not wrestling to our potential (wasn’t good). They responded well and wrestled better.”