Carson wrestlers open with win |

Carson wrestlers open with win

Dave Price
Sierra Nevada Media Group

Spurred on by a good dose of “guts” – not to mention a flurry of pins – the Carson High wrestling team opened its season with a bang on Wednesday.

The Senators logged five pins and won 11 matches overall on their way to a 50-18 Sierra League dual meet win against rival Douglas and present Tyson Thivierge with a win in his debut as head coach at home at Morse Burley Gymnasium.

“As nervous as I was all week worrying whether we’d be ready, the kids went out and showed they were ready,” Thivierge said, flashing a wide grin. “For the most part, they wrestled above and beyond my expectations. They showed their guts and heart tonight.”

The nerves were understandable, considering the league championship has come down to the Carson-Douglas meet in each of the last six years. Douglas rallied for a 36-31 win last year in Minden.

This time, the Senators emerged on top, and Thivierge was quick to credit the 6:15 a.m. practice sessions they’ve been putting in.

“We call them ‘Guts’ – it’s all about who can dig deeper and show their guts – and I think that showed tonight because our guys were able to pick up the pace and wrestle solid for six minutes.”

It showed up in the first bout of the evening when junior 215-pounder Garrett Truesdell scored three points on an escape and takedown in the final eight seconds of the second round on his way to a hard-fought 4-0 win against Sean Molina.

Then, in the 112-pound match, senior Owen Craugh trailed on three separate occasions before he scored three points on a near fall in the final five seconds of regulation to pull out a 9-6 victory against Garrett Heckhius, a regional tournament runner-up last season.

Five Senators – heavyweight Trent Simpson, Robbie Bozin, Kyle Banko, Martin Azzam and Travis Lamborn – didn’t need to worry about going the distance as they all won by fall. Lamborn and Bozin, both seniors, won in 1:09 and 1:13 respectively. Azzam won in 1:29 and Simpson in 2:56. Perhaps the most impressive performance was delivered by Banko, who saw his football season end with a torn MCL on Sept. 8 and only received his medical clearance to wrestle on Monday.

“I was real excited. I was pumped tonight – hungry and humble,” said Banko, who was a state tournament runner-up at 130 pounds last season.

Just as exciting was the performance of the entire team.

“I really didn’t think we would get this many wins, but everything just fell in place,” he said. “This was just a warmup for us. We have a good team. I think we have a good chance to be state champions.”

The Senators will face a good gauge Saturday when they host the Capital City Duals and a field that includes Fallon, which finished third at the state tournament back in February.

At the same time, the Douglas Tigers have higher expectations than Wednesday’s final score showed. The Tigers got their 18 points from pins by 145-pounder Devin Barker (2:42) and 152-pounder Ryan Pruitt (1:13), and then Tony Ferris, who moved up to 189 pounds and ended the meet with a 36-second pin – the fastest of the evening

“This wasn’t our best showing,” said Tony Ferris, who moved up after he weighed in at 171.1 pounds. “We had people who didn’t make weight, but we’re looking forward to coming back. We’ll come back twice as strong.”

Other winners for Carson included Todd Banko at 119 pounds, Brian Halverson at 125 pounds, Adam Carmazzi at 140 pounds and 103-pounder Nick Schlager won his match, 10-1.

“Nick Schlager was a complete shock,” Thivierge said of the freshman. “He just showed me a completely different side of him that I haven’t seen in practice.

“But really, I can’t single any one person out. They all wrestled well.”