Schlager headed to state finals |

Schlager headed to state finals

Nevada Appeal News Service
Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal

SPARKS ” Nick Schlager felt like the Greek god Atlas, holding the world of Carson wrestling on his shoulders.

Being the lone Senator in the Saturday’s finals, he didn’t disappoint.

“It was a little awkward. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or to help me relax before the match,” Schlager said.

After scoring no points in the first period, Schlager used momentum from a reversal late in the second period to seal his first regional title, a 5-0 decision over Douglas’ in the 125-pound championship of the Northern 4A regional tournament at Spanish Springs High School.

“Because I was the only one going to state, I felt like if I won this match that it would make up for it a little,” said Schlager, who will aim for a state title this week in Winnemucca.

Spanish Springs won its first-ever regional title with 172.5 points and three individual champions after taking seventh last year.

“We had a good duel team last year, but the big thing we need to work on was being a tournament team,” Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said.

McQueen came in second with 149.5 points, followed by Galena (128), Douglas (124) and Reed (108). Carson’s 103 points was good enough for sixth, and Fallon, Damonte Ranch, Manogue and Reno rounded out the top 10.

“For the most part, we wrestled tough today,” Carson coach Tim McCarthy said. “We’re bummed because we’re sending only one to state. It was a great team effort and they had a great attitude. You can’t ignore the fact that we won our league and did well throughout the season.”

The Grizzlies led the tournament with four championships, while the Cougars and Lancers each qualified six to the state tournament.

“This is definitely something to build on,” Fallon coach Mitch Overlie said. “We can say look at what we did with a bunch of juniors and sophomores. We were right there. Unfortunately, we had a chance to do something special but we didn’t get it done. I wanted the kids to battle and fight and that’s what they did. They battled hard.”

The Senators had three wrestlers vying for a third-place ticket to the state tournament, but all fell short and settled for fourth. Pat Craugh (103), Ricky Ugarte (119) and Junior Valladares (160) each lost in the consolation’s final round.

Valladares’ loss, though, hurt Carson the most.

Down by one point with five seconds left in the match, North Valleys’ Mitch Van Ronk escaped from Valladares with a reversal to win 7-6 in a seesaw battle. The Carson wrestler was down 2-0 after the first round before recording two escapes and a takedown in the second round.

“The one that really hurt was the 160-pounder,” McCarthy said. “He’s an extremely hard worker, a great kid, but it was painful.”

McCarthy, though, was pleased how Valladares fared against Fallon’s Trent de Braga, who decisioned McQueen’s Chris Gottlich to win the regional title. De Braga muscled a 9-3 win over Valladares in the semifinals.

“He actually wrestled de Braga really well,” McCarthy said. “It was one of those deals, too, where it shouldn’t have come down like that (facing de Braga one match early). You still have to come through even if the seeding’s not true.”

Craugh lost a tough battle to Reno’s Jake Garfinkle after being decisioned in the semifinals and forced to win two more matches to qualify for state. Garfinkle quickly took down Craugh to open the match and added another takedown in the second period for a 4-0 lead. A reversal in each of the last two periods brought Craugh to within two points with 13 seconds left.

Ugarte rolled the wrong way in his bout against Damonte Ranch’s Cole Raglen, losing by pin with 1:13 left in the second period. Ugarte trailed from the start, but a first-period escape cut the deficit to 2-1. Raglen, though, nearly had a pin with 50 seconds left in the first period, but rolled Ugarte a second time for the win.

“I thought they had a really good shot to win, but they came up short,” McCarthy said of Ugarte and Craugh.