CHS wrestlers gear up for TOC |

CHS wrestlers gear up for TOC

Darrell Moody

The venue is better known for holding concerts, but this weekend the Reno Events Center will be filled by high school wrestlers and their rabid fans.

Carson High’s wrestling team is one of more than 90 teams participating in the annual Reno Tournament of Champions Friday and Saturday. Sixteen different states will be represented — Nevada, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Oklahoma and Colorado.

Action gets under way at 9 a.m. both days. This will be Carson’s first non-dual tourney of the season.

“I would think so,” Carson coach Paul Carter said when asked if this would be Carson’s toughest test on the schedule. “The state tournament has its allure, but you are getting teams from throughout the West and from back East. It’s a good measuring stick to see where we’re at. It gives us national exposure. You see a big difference in styles. It’s the challenge of it.

“I don’t go into this with high expectations. Getting guys to the second day is a goal for our group. It’s all about match-ups. We won’t have anybody that is going to be seeded really high, so we’re going to have tough matches right off the bat. The key is winning the close matches.”

The only CHS wrestler to reach the second day last year was freshman Brady O’Keefe, who will be looking to make it two straight this weekend. O’Keefe takes an 11-1 record into the 145-pound weight class. He is coming off a 5-0 record at the Natomas Nighthawk Duals last weekend.

“I think we have quite a few capable of making it to the second day,” Carter said. “I feel like we have a few good possibilities.”

On paper, the best bets would be newcomer Brandon Basa (106, 12-0), Sammy Mercado (113, 9-3), Austin Martinez (120, 9-3), Kyle Sharp (132, 10-1), Nicholas Lani (138, 6-1), O’Keefe (145, 10-1), Nolan Shine (152, 10-1), Cody Cunningham (170, 11-1), Brady Rivera (182, 11-0) and heavyweight Aaron Cowee (12-0). Other starters this weekend are Alex Estrada (126), Michael Freeman (160), Connor Sievers (195) and Sheldon Miller (220).

Tournament rules allow you to bring just one full line-up and no extras, which means Dominic Kinder, who reached state last year, won’t be active this week. Kinder may have to get to 126 to earn a starting spot each week.

“We’re starting to get guys down to the weights where they are the best,” Carter said.