Senators advance two at tough Tournament of Champions | NevadaAppeal.com
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Senators advance two at tough Tournament of Champions

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

RENO – The Reno Tournament of Champions bills itself as the “Toughest Tournament in the USA.”

It’s a tournament that draws teams from all over the United States to the Reno Events Center, and only the strong survive. It’s an event where most teams will usually lose more matches than they win because of the caliber of the competition.

“It’s a good experience,” Carson coach Tim McCarthy said after Friday’s first day which saw only Nico Garcia and Patrick Cooke make it to today’s action. “If a wrestler is getting too complacent, they come here and see the level that’s out there. They get to wrestle and watch some good wrestlers, and that should help.”

“This is for exposure,” assistant coach Paul Carter said. “It’s one of the best tournaments we go to all year. Yeah, generally you do (lose more than you win). You get some extra mat time. You can definitely learn more sometimes from losing if you know what to focus on and work on.”

Overall, it was an up and down day for the Senators.

“I was talking with the other coaches and we agreed it was kind of rollercoaster day,” McCarthy said. “I started out pretty happy. We won six straight matches at one point, and then we had a dip before the end.”

“I was hoping we’d get more than two (to the second day), but we’re a pretty young team. Overall not a bad performance.”

Garcia was seeded third at 182 pounds, and he made good use of it. He pounded James Byrne of Green Valley 14-2 and then pinned Alex Thackery of Mountain View to reach today’s quarterfinals.

Garcia cruised to a 9-2 lead after two rounds, and then scored five unanswered points in the final period to win easily. His second-round pin came with 24 seconds left in the second round. He’ll face Spencer Theissen of Villa Park today.

Cooke opened with a second-round pin of Brackin Stringam of Lehi-Utah, and followed that up with a second-round pin of Sterling Dunn of Union.

Dunn had a 3-2 lead, but Cooke got a takedown for a 4-3 lead before registering the pin.

Cooke lost a 6-1 decision to Colton Grossaint of Kearns-Utah, but pinned Dominick Ammirato of Pleasant Valley-Chico.

“It was nice to see Patrick win that last match (to stay alive),” McCarthy said. “He’s such a competitor.”

Cole McCarthy, seeded 16th, should have joined Garcia and Cooke today, but he was the victim of a very controversial call by the referee when he wrestled top-seeded Mitch Brown of Payson-Utah in his second match.

McCarthy got a quick takedown and a three-point near-fall for a 5-0 lead. McCarthy appeared to have Brown pinned. But the ref didn’t see it that way. The bout was stopped briefly when Brown suffered a bloody nose.

Brown ended the opening round with a reversal to trim the deficit to 5-2. Brown quickly tied the match with an escape and takedown, and pinned McCarthy with 56 seconds left in the second round.

Had McCarthy been awarded a pin, and there were plenty of pins called a lot quicker during the course of the tournament, he could have relaxed the rest of the day.

Carter argued vehemently with the referee at the conclusion of the match to no avail.

“Even (Brown’s) his own coaches thought he’d been pinned,” the elder McCarthy said. “Unbelievable. That’s part of the game … bad calls. He was down for about four seconds. I don’t know what he (the official) was thinking.”

Sometimes a bad break or bad call can carry over to a wrestler’s next match, but the elder McCarthy didn’t think it did.

Cole McCarthy was leading Brady Isaacson 4-0 at one point, but got too high when he was in the top position and was pinned. McCarthy landed on his shoulder after being whipped down in the second period, and that may have affected his performance.

“He wrestled a good first round,” coach McCarthy said.

Kyle Sharp had a disappointing end to his day, getting pinned in the third consolation round by second-seeded Darin Davis of Sitka-Alaska. Sharp had the lead when Davis pinned him.

Sharp lost by a first-round pin in his opening match, but then pinned fifth-seeded Joe Guerra of Morenci and Spanish Springs’ Ryan Long.

“The first guy I wrestled was strong,” Sharp said. “I felt like I was ready to wrestle, though.

“In the second match, I knew he (Guerra) was going to go for my legs after his first shot. I got free and got him in a headlock and looked for a move from there.

Austin Brown (138) and Javier Torres (195) were the only other wrestlers to break into the winning column.

Brown went 1-2, losing both matches by pin. His only win was a pin of Gavin Lopez of Evergreen Valley.

Torres opened with a pin of Galena’s Blake Whitlock, and then lot by pin in his next two bouts.

Sammy Mercado (113), Adan Ortega (120), Nicholas Lani (132), Colby Brown (145), Cody Cunningham (152) and Brady Rivera (160) all went 0-2.

Cunningham injured his shoulder in his first match and defaulted. McCarthy elected to hold him out of his second-round match.

Colby Brown went the distance in both of his losses, losing 8-3 and 3-0.

Brown, a freshman, missed on a couple of shots, and Lehi’s David Busko turned them into takedowns. Brown’s only points came on escapes.

Brown’s consolation match was scoreless after two rounds. He let La Costa Canyon’s Drew Karson escape to open the third round, but was unable to get the takedown he needed to win the match.