Carson High wrestling | Senators streak on line in Sierra opener
When Carson High takes to the mat for its season-opening dual against host Damonte Ranch tonight at 6, it will have a big chip on its proverbial shoulder.
The Senators take a 30-match win streak into the Sierra League meet. Carson hasn’t lost since 2008, and that streak is in serious jeopardy.
Because of Carson’s success in football, the Senators will be missing several key members tonight — Brady O’Keefe (135, 145), Brady Rivera (220), Corey Jasper (195), Sheldon Miller (heavyweight), Nolan Shine (152) and Kevin Rusler (170). The football players will not have had the five required practices you need when moving to a new sport. Alex Honeycutt (160), Spencer Rogers, Connor Chech, Austin Rudy, Chris Miranda and Sam Haight are among the football players who are part of the program.
The Damonte-Carson rivalry has been a good one, and the Mustangs are the only team that gives Carson a good battle. Carson coach Paul Carter doesn’t believe anybody else in the Sierra League can beat Damonte except Carson, thus the reason for his anger.
“They want to beat us no matter the circumstances,” Carter said. “We tried to get it rescheduled, but they weren’t that receptive.
“If all our guys wrestle to the best of their ability we have a chance. Our non-football guys have been working their butts off since practice started. I’m not counting them out.”
Brandon Basa and Connor Sievers along with Vic Freeman and Casey Stevens bring varsity experience into tonight’s match. Nathan Mersino, a newcomer to the Carson program from North Bend High School, and freshman Abel Carter, lend some experience. Kellen McDermott and Seth Reichelt also will be counted on for points during the season.
In years past, Carson has been a better dual-meet team than a tournament team. Coach Carter wants to change that.
“It’s yet to be determined,” the CHS coach said. “We’re trying to do a lot more two-day tournaments. We’re wrestling our duals on Wednesdays, and not using the Cap City event to get duals done. We want to be a better tournament team. We want to contend for a regional title. I told the kids they can do that, and hopefully they believe that. I believe it.
“We have some good depth. We need some of our younger wrestlers to step up.”
Shine (152) and O’Keefe (145) reached the state finals last year, and both should make the big dance again along with Rivera. Shine dropped an 11-1 decision to Antonio Jauregui of Las Vegas High, while O’Keefe lost 7-2 to Liberty’s Storm Roper.
Shine won a regional title as did Rivera (182). Rivera won 6-4 in overtime over Damonte’s Rory Anderson in the regional finals, while Shine topped Devyn Cox, 8-4. O’Keefe was second at regionals, losing 4-1 to Reed’s Jake Otuafi. Basa beat Reno’s Connor Pearson in the state qualifying match, 13-2. Miller finished fourth in regionals last year, getting pinned by Reno senior Calvin Cox in the third-place match. Rogers went 2-2 at regionals last year.
Neither Basa or Rivera finished in the top four at state. Both are hungry to get back to state.
Cap City event on Saturday
The annual Capitol City Duals is scheduled for Saturday at 9 a.m. at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
Ten teams — Carson, Douglas, Wooster, Lowry, Norh Valleys, Reed, Reno, Bishop Manogue, Spanish Springs and McQueen are entered in the annual event.
It will be the first day the football players will be able to compete, and Carter is unsure of what his lineup is going to look like on Saturday. No doubt it won’t be the same when regionals and state roll around.
Lowry is the favorite in the event. The Buckaroos have shown for many years that they can compete on equal footing with Division I teams.