Basa, Miller enter Carson High wall of champions
For the past four years, Brandon Basa and Sheldon Miller have stared at the wall of champions in the Carson High wrestling room every day, hoping to see their name there one day.
Their time has come.
In front of coaches, family and teammates, the outgoing seniors became the 20th and 21st wrestlers to have their names scripted on the wall. The duo were the first state winners since Niko Garcia in 2012. Carson has had 20 state winners. Scott Kuhlman was the only two-time state champ (1981-82).
“It is a huge accomplishment,” said interim head coach Nick Redwine, who has been running the program since Keith Schafer stepped down after the season. “It’s a very select group. It doesn’t happen all the time.”
And, both Miller and Basa were particularly impressive in winning their titles at Spanish Springs. Both went 3-0, and won via pin in all three matches. None of Miller’s matches lasted more than 48 seconds.
It was a fitting end for the two four-year stars, who have probably wrestled their last competitive matches. Miller is going to pursue football at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif., and Basa is probably going to attend Boise State.
Miller had two thirds and a fourth in regional wrestling and had a third and fourth at state before winning gold in 2017. Basa, meanwhile, had second-place regional finishes in 2015 and 2016, and he was third as a freshman. He had a third and fourth at state before cashing in this winter.
“It’s pretty cool,” Basa said. “I thought about going in there (earlier), but I wanted to see it all at once (with everybody else). I talked to Justin Shine (former CHS coach) and he congratulated me, and I think coach (Paul) Carter called.”
“It means a lot,” Miller said. “We had a five-year drought (at Carson) where we didn’t have anybody win. We had people in the finals. To get two in the finals last year and both of us won was pretty amazing.”
Both seniors admit they will have a tough time walking away from the sport that has dominated their lives. Both have spent countless hours in workout rooms and weekend club tournaments.
Miller admitted that while warming up for his state championship match he knew his wrestling career was probably over.
“I was warming up with Abel (Carter), and I said ‘Dude, this is my last high school match, and maybe the last match I’ll ever wrestle,’” he said in the hallway before the festivities began. “I wanted to go out with a bang and win state, and I did both.
“I’ve gone over to Sierra College for spring practice. There is Garcia from Reed and Sandoval from Damonte Ranch who are going to go there, and Caulin (Bartley, former CHS defensive back) is already there.”
Boise State has a successful wrestling program, but Basa seems to be leaning toward being a full-time student. “I took a trip there and toured the campus,” Basa said. “I talked to the coaches, and they said I was welcome to come out (as a walk-on). I’ll probably miss it a little bit. Wrestling has always been a pretty big thing for me.”