O’Keefe moves on at TOC
RENO – And then there was one.
Freshman wrestler Brady O’Keefe will be Carson’s lone representative when the second day of the annual Reno Tournament of Champions gets under way today at 9 a.m. at the Reno Events Center.
“It wasn’t great,” Carson coach Tim McCarthy said when asked to assess his team’s performance. “We held our own. The competition was pretty stiff.”
It’s not a total surprise that O’Keefe was able to make the second day. He was given a seventh seed, and he ended up winning all but one of his matches on the day despite not feeling 100 percent.
“It’s very impressive for a freshman to make it to day two here,” McCarthy said. “He’s had lot of matches before getting to high school, a ton of matches. He’s had a lot of mat experience.”
O’Keefe opened with a 10-9 win over Hunter Temple of Mountain View, and then bounced back with a pin of Grandview’s Seth Brown.
“He (Temple) was a tough kid,” O’Keefe said. “I just did what I do best out there. I made a couple of mistakes out there, but none that was going to lose me a match.
“My goal was to get to the second day. The college coaches are going to be here and it’s a chance to get some exposure.”
O’Keefe lost his third match, but stayed alive with an 11-9 victory.
McCarthy had hoped that his son, Cole (126), Kyle Sharp (120), Jordan Luhrs (170) and Brady Rivera (181) would make it to the second day. Sharp went 1-2, Luhrs went 2-2, and Rivera 0-2.
Cole McCarthy, who dropped a weight class for the tournament, went 3-2 on the day. He had the unfortunate experience of running into the top two seeded wrestlers in his division.
“I didn’t necessarily expect Cole (and a few others) to move on, but I was hopeful they would,” coach McCarthy said. “That (facing the two top seeds) will happen here.”
Cole McCarthy opened with a 37-second pin over Mac Jordan of Temecula Valley, but he then ran into top-seeded Matt Findlay of Alta. McCarthy led 6-2 after one round thanks to a reversal and three-point near fall, but Findlay roared back to take a 10-7 lead before recording a pin.
He won his next two matches by pin and a 6-5 decision, but then lost to second-seeded Antonio Meikel of Kearns, 11-3.
“The first match I just wanted to go out there and get it over as quickly as possible,” McCarthy said. “I knew the second match would be tough, but he wasn’t as good as I thought he would be. I made a couple of mistakes and it got into my head.”
The elder McCarthy said his son attempted a move that he didn’t have cinched up before attempting.
Sharp opened with a 9-1 win, but was pounded 22-6 and 16-0 in his next two matches. Rivera lost by pin in the first round and 6-3 in the second. Luhrs went 2-2 for the day.
Javier Torres (195) and Levi Carter (220) both went 1-2. Jordan Woodward (heavyweight) went 2-2.
Six wrestlers – Sammy Mercado (113), Tristian Wadsworth (132). Alex Cunningham (145). Nolan Shine (152), Colby Brown (160) and Brady Rivera (182) – were eliminated in two straight matches.
Perhaps the most disappointing performance was by Mercado, who reached state a couple of years ago. He lost a 1-0 decision to Ryan Long of Spanish Springs, and then was pinned in the third round by Wasatch’s Gage Bradley. Mercado had a 5-0 lead in the first round of that match, but was unable to sustain that momentum.
“The first match Sammy couldn’t generate any offense,” McCarthy said. “He was just hanging on and hoping to stay close. The second match he was ahead by five points and then the guy tied it up. It’s frustrating.”
Shine was pinned in the second round of his opening match, moving him to the consolation bracket. He went up against Zach Vann of La Costa Canyon, losing 12-7. Shine gave up a quick takedown and then tied the match, but Vann scored eight straight points for a 10-2 lead.
Cunningham was pinned in the first round of his opener and then lost 9-2. Brown suffered a first-round pin and then lost 4-0 to Phoenix Prefontaine of La Costa Canyon. Wadsworth lost by pin in his first match and then dropped a 4-3 decision in his second outing of the season.