Pins pace Carson wrestling team to Day 2 of regionals
RENO – Carson’s game plan to improve on last year’s sixth place finish at the Northern 4A regionals is simple: Pin your way to a title.
So, it was fitting Friday that the first Senators to advance to today’s championship semifinal round was 112-pounder Cole McCarthy, who need just 1 minute, 28 seconds to force Elko’s Daniel Kaiser into a pin and Nick Schlager, who also earned a pin.
“I was just going for the pin and knew I could get it and it would be more team points,” McCarthy said of the win. “If I couldn’t pin, then I would try to get a major so I could get as many points as possible.”
The Senators found themselves with the early lead and were able to secure a firm grip on the first day of competition at Reno High School, where they lead with 69 points and saw eight wrestlers advance to the second day. Of those eight, seven advanced by pinning their opponent.
“Even though it doesn’t mean a whole lot, I’d rather be in first going into Day 2 then looking up,” Carson coach Tim McCarthy said. “But it’s kind of like the first half of a football game, the tougher half is (today).
Carson holds a 13-point lead over second-place Spanish Springs (56), while Damonte Ranch is third with 51. The eight wrestlers to advance for Carson were: Pat Craugh (103), McCarthy (112), Ricky Ugarte (119), Schlager (135), Nicolas Garcia (145), Junior Valladares (171), Luke Carter (189) and Ryan Hoskins (215).
Day 2 of the tournament resumes at 10 a.m. with the consolation second round at Reno High. The championship semifinal round is scheduled to start at noon and the finals at 5:30 p.m.
Confidence was beaming from the Senators early on as they jumped out to a 3-0 start and were 6-2 after the first round of action. The four wrestlers who received byes to start off – Carter, Garcia, Hoskins and Schlager – caught on quickly to the early tone as all of them advanced to the semifinal round.
Top seeded Schlager (7-0 in duals this season) advanced when he secured a pin on Galena’s Eric Dougherty in the first period.
Valladares didn’t receive a bye in the first round and found
himself having to work for the pin against Wooster’s Aaron Sexton. Valladares (7-0) tried to secure a pin from the onset, but couldn’t get Sexton’s shoulders to the mat long enough for the pin. In the process, Valladares built up a 14-2 lead after two periods. He finally was able to clamp down on Sexton with 32 seconds remaining in the third to get the win.
“He’s got a lot of fight,” Valladares said of Sexton. “Usually when people get put on their backs they usually don’t put up a fight for long before they realize it’s over. I just kept trying to push it, hoping he would give up right away or give up quicker.”
Hoskins picked up what was perceived as an upset, when he pinned Reno’s Teran Madison to advance.
Carson was the wrong side of the upset of the day when top-seeded heavyweight Justin Barlow (6-0) was pinned by McQueen’s Moses Kotoa (4-2) in his second match of the day.
“He took the McQueen kid down and kind of got a little high trying to put a power half on the guy and slid off,” McCarthy said. “He got a little high on it and the kid’s probably a good 30 pounds heavier then Justin and ended up getting all that weight on him and pinned him.”
Barlow can still advance to state by moving up through the loser’s bracket and finishing third.
Even with the upset, McCarthy believes the Senators are in prime position to take home the regional title.
“I hope we’re still wrestling well (today),” he said. “The kids are still high. We expect to do well (today).”