Four wrestlers still alive for Carson
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Last year, Carson’s “Four Horsemen” – Kyle Banko, Travis Lamborn, Robbie Bozin and Owen Craugh – all eventually placed in the Sierra Nevada Classic, turning the prestigious wrestling tournament into a harbinger of what was to become as the Senators, under first-year coach Tyson Thivierge, eventually won the Northern 4A regional championship.
The Horsemen have ridden off to college and weren’t at the 33rd annual Asics Sierra Nevada Classic on Thursday, so it was up to a new batch of Senators to try and move on into the second day of the 96-team tournament.
When the last drop of sweat hit the mats at Reno Livestock Events Center, there were four Senators left out of 11 entrants: senior Garret Truesdell (215 pounds), senior Martin Azzam (152), and sophomores Ignacio “Junior” Valadarez (160) and Nick Schlager (112).
Truesdell, who is wrestling 20 pounds lighter than his opponents – he is only 195 pounds – was the lone Senator to go 3-0 and advance to today’s championship round, which, along with the consolation round, begins at 10 a.m.
The championship finals begin at 5:15 p.m.
Azzam, Valadarez and Schlager all added wins in the consolation bracket to help Carson work its way into 23rd place, with 55.5 points.
Eldorado (Placentia, Calif.) leads all teams with 95 points, followed by Caldwell (Idaho) with 94.5, Crater (Central Point, Ore.) with 90, Sutter Union (Calif.) with 89.5 and Los Gatos (Calif.) with 86.5.
Fallon and Douglas are in 13th and lead all Northern Nevada teams with 66 points, followed by Spring Creek (63.5), Galena (60.5) and Carson. Damonte Ranch is 51st with 40 points.
Truesdell, now 18-5 this season, has been on the varsity squad since he was a sophomore, but missed the SNC both years – one time with a staph infection and the other with pink eye.
After scoring falls against Damonte Ranch’s Dave Belardes (1 minute, 43 seconds) and Jake Hanna, of Jackson Hole, Wyo. (2:47), Truesdell found himself under Forest Lammert, of Lebanon, Ore., down 5-3 and with the clock running down.
With 37 seconds remaining in the match, Truesdell flipped his heavier opponent for the reversal and bore down on him to score the pin with 26 seconds to go.
Truesdell was up 3-0 before Lammert escaped and then notched a takedown to tie it.
“That was me being stupid,” said Truesdell, who wrestled in 215-pound class at 175 pounds as a freshman. “I tried to flip over, tried to roll through. I was just gassed at that point (down 5-3). I couldn’t do anything with how heavy he was.”
But he never gave up and gave himself a chance to win.
“I saw an opening and went for it,” he said. “I was on my knees beside him and used a head-arm move. He was just about as tired as I was.”
More so, as it turned out. Truesdell faces Josh Wood, of Modoc, Calif., in the fourth championship round to open today.
Schlager opened with a bye before losing to Ben Gacayan, of Sutter Union. The sophomore was able to rebound, however, and won three consecutive matches, starting with a 15-0 technical fall and 45-second pin before capping the night off with a 9-4 decision over Jake Smith, of Othello, Wash.
Schlager will try and stay alive and will meet Wes Peterson, of Douglas.
Azzam, minus the Sparta beard he wore as a forward for the Carson soccer team, began with a 7-2 decision over Oren Dramen, of Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) and notched a second-round pin before No. 4 seed Cesar Padilla, of Pittman, Calif., slipped by him with a 4-3 decision.
Azzam scored a 6-5 decision over Anthony Aguilar, of Edison, Calif., in the consolation round, taking advantage of his swing single-leg takedown to pull ahead early. He will meet Jacob Conklin, of Federal Way (Wash.).
“It’s the greatest shape I’ve been in,” said Azzam, who said he owed his conditioning to Thivierge. “We have intense practices. We run in the morning and do sprints. Guys who are here are pretty much dedicated.”
Thivierge’s early-morning workouts have thinned his squad from 32 to 20.
“Some guys have told me they don’t like running in the morning,” Thivierge said. “That’s the way the program is going to be.”
That suits Valadarez just fine. Having wrestled for the first time just last year as a freshman, Valadarez made the most of his conditioning to score an 8-4 decision over Josh Hamilton, of Sentinel, Mont., in the consolation round.
Hamilton pulled ahead 4-3 on an escape with less than a minute remaining, but a takedown and near fall with 35 seconds remaining helped the sophomore advance to today’s meeting with the winner of Dylan Rutledge (Auburn, Wash.) and Marcos Vidales, of Edison.
“I could just see (Hamilton) getting tired,” Valadarez said. “I could hear him breathe. That was music to my ears. The kid’s crushed. It just gives me a bigger boost to come out on top. To know he’s dead and I’m not gave me the strength to overcome.”
“We came out flat and fat,” Thivierge said of his impression of the day’s events. “We were sluggish from the Christmas break. It’s unfortunate. A couple of kids showed up and wrestled hard. A couple didn’t. One showed up and didn’t make weight (Todd Banko, who failed to get down to 125 pounds). It’s nice to see younger kids wrestling good. They’re the future of this team – they are the building blocks and the next generation.”
Trevor and Trent de Braga (160 and 145, respectively) and Tyler Reibsamen (152) are all in the championship bracket for Fallon, while Ryan McCormick (171) and Colin Merkley remain alive in the consolation bracket.
For Douglas, No. 9 seed Tony Ferris (189) is the lone Tiger in the championship round. He advanced with three pinfalls and will meet No. 1 seed Garrett Rutledge, of Auburn, Wash.
The Tigers have three other wrestlers – Wes Peterson (112), Nico Barker (130) and Dillon Spates (103) – still alive in the consolation bracket.
Galena’s Doug DelPorto (125) is in the championship bracket, while Jeremy Wilson (130), Jake Gunzel (112) and Luke Riley (119) will represent the Grizzlies in the consolation bracket.
Class 3A Spring Creek has five wrestlers still alive, all of them in the championship bracket and the most for any Northern Nevada team: Bryan Saddoris (152), Josh David (125), No. 1 seed Nick Wooden (130), Cameron Hopper (112) and Kamas Wing (171).