Galena wins team, Carson brings home three individual titles
RENO – Carson High School earned three individual gold medals and Galena brought home the team championship from the Northern 4A zone wrestling tournament on Saturday.
Justin Sarnowski (130 pounds), Justin Shine (135) and Doug Brooks (140) won their gold medals in successive matches, and Carson put five wrestlers in the championship round to finish fifth in the team standings with 131 points before a crowd of more than 1,500 at Galena High School.
Meanwhile, Michael Crooks (103) and Pat Nohr (275) won individual gold as tournament host Galena busted through to capture the school’s first zone team title with 165 points.
The top four finishers in each weight class now advance to the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament this coming Friday and Saturday at Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas. Galena has seven qualifiers and Carson five.
Galena’s best previous finish at zone was sixth in 1999, but with seven state tournament qualifiers returning, the Grizzlies came into this season with some high expectations.
“I knew we would have a chance, but I knew there would be other teams that would be tough,” said Haugland, who won two individual zone titles during his own career at Sparks High. “This was a good tournament for us overall.”
The same could be said for Carson’s three individual champions. Sarnowski successfully defended his zone 130-pound title by scoring a 1-0 decision over Wooster’s J.W. Lazzari. Shine picked up a buzzer-beating second-round pin over Elko’s Jason Zander in the 135-pound final. And Brooks capped off Carson’s string when he scored a 4-1 verdict over Galena’s Matt Reed in the 140-pound final.
“Three in a row, that was very wonderful,” said Brooks, whose season record is now 35-8. “When Sarno won, I was pumped up. Then when Justin stuck his guy, I was going nuts. There was no way I was going to lose.”
Sarnowski (39-9) scored one point when Lazzari (51-6 and 144 career wins) allowed him to get away for an escape with 1:23 left in the third round. The Carson junior made that score stand up the rest of the way as he reversed two previous losses to the Wooster standout this season.
“Sarno went into the finals as a distinct underdog in most people’s eyes … not ours,” Carson coach Tim McCarthy said. “I think he showed who the best wrestler in that weight class was.”
Sarnowski wasn’t surprised to see Lazzari take a gamble and let him go in the final period.
“I’ve escaped on him in every match, so I knew he didn’t want to take a chance on me getting away late and then not having a chance to come back,” Sarnowski said. “And he’s real good on his feet, he’s taken me down in every match up until this one.”
Shine (35-10) rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to tie Zander, and then the Senator senior won by fall in the final second of the second period.
“Barbed wire was the move,” Shine said, demonstrating a move where he slips under to grab an arm and then begins to twist. “I just kind of sucked it up and right when I put him on his back, I felt him break. I knew I had him then.”
Brooks, who had lost three of four previous meetings to Reed this season, scored a first-round takedown to take an early lead and then put the match away on another takedown with 28 seconds remaining.
Carson’s other two finalists settled for silver, as 160-pounder Branden Lamborn dropped a 4-2 decision to Hug’s Branden Boise (47-2 this season) and 215-pounder Ben Johnson lost 15-0 to Wooster freshman Chad Espinoza.
“Those were both tough opponents,” McCarthy said. “Espinoza is only a freshman, but he’s had a lot of national freestyle experience and what he scored the majority of his points on was the freestyle tilt.”
Galena’s Crooks (46-5) came back to surprise Elko’s talented Forest Bogue, 9-6, in the 103-pound final. Crooks broke a 4-4 tie thanks to a takedown and near fall with 1:18 remaining.
Nohr (37-4) capped off Galena’s title run with a 2-0 triumph over Lowry’s Bryan Light. Nohr was a zone runner-up in 1999 – just his first season of wrestling.
Douglas also had two state qualifiers, as Romaine Smokey (25-4) finished second in the 119-pound weight class and Drew Hall fourth at 160 pounds. Smokey lost his final to South Tahoe’s undefeated Cavin Ross, 11-3.
LOVELOCK – Yerington senior Dustin Marriott successfully defended his 189-pound weight class championship when he defeated Dayton’s Shane Van Zant in the finals at the NIAA/U.S. Bank 3A State Tournament.
Marriott pinned two opponents en route to the finals, where he scored a 4-0 verdict over Van Zant, who gave Dayton its highest state wrestling finish ever.
Fernley’s Aaron Keller also brought home his second 3A state 152-pound gold medal, as he survived overtime bouts in the semifinals and finals. Keller edged Dayton senior Brett Peart 5-3 to win in the semifinals and then outlasted Moapa Valley’s Dave Cameron in the final 9-7.
Peart rebounded from his heart-breaking semifinal loss to win his consolation final, 7-2, and earn a third-place finish.
Yerington finished eighth in the team standings with 81 points, followed by Dayton in ninth with 76 points. Virgin Valley rolled up 180.5 points to defend its 3A state team title.