Lani looking to make the most of last hurrah
Sometime in the next two weeks, Carson High senior Nicholas Lani will take off his wrestling singlet for the last time. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
“I’ll miss the camaraderie with my teammates and the feeling of winning,” he said before Tuesday’s practice in preparation for the start of the regional tournament today (3 p.m.) at Reno High. “There is nothing like the feel of winning. It’s a natural high.
“What won’t I miss? I’ll miss some of the physical stuff. Wrestling with injuries. I’m wrestling with a couple of injuries that have never healed my entire high school career. I won’t miss worrying about weight or having to cut weight. I never missed weight once my high school career. It will be nice not having to worry about it.”
In the mean time, Lani wants to make as much noise as possible.
“It’s my last chance to make it happen,” said Lani. “It’s the last couple of weeks of my career, and I’m going to leave it all on the mat. How I finish is how I finish. I won’t have any regrets. My ultimate goal has always been to win state. I think I have a great shot at it. I have nothing to lose.”
The road to a possible state crown at 138 pounds starts today for Lani. The Carson senior didn’t make state as a freshman or sophomore, finishing fourth both times. He reached state last year, and came one win away from getting to the third-place match. He enters this year’s regional event with a 33-7 record, including 5-0 in Sierra League matches. The only other undefeated league wrestler at 138 is Spanish Springs’ Cole Drescher, who also was 5-0.
If he gets to state, in Primm a week from Saturday, he’ll see the likes of Spring Valley’s Eduardo Penha (31-1 as of late January), Bruno Maraccini of Centennial (25-4), Trent Dolby of Faith Lutheran (22-5), Alex Aragon of Silverado (30-8), Adrian Ojeda of Green Valley (28-8) and Western’s Luis Lopez (30-10). All this is providing none of the group drops down a weight.
“He’s worked his butt off this year,” Carson coach Paul Carter said of Lani. “He was 5-0 in league, and he’s looking good. I think he has a great chance of getting to the finals, and I think he can win it all if he wrestles to his capabilities.
“He has a great work ethic. That’s what sets him apart from other guys. Day in and day out he shows up on the mat. He’s very dedicated. There is a little more motivation when you don’t have another year. This kid is solid.”
The fact that Lani has never missed weight for a dual or tournament at CHS is very impressive and comforting to any coach. He’s been dependable throughout his career.
“This year I’ve cut a little bit each week,” Lani said. “This year hasn’t been that difficult.”
His diet would make a normal person feel underfed and clamoring for food. Breakfast is a fig bar, lunch is a couple of slices of ham and an apple. Chicken breast is dinner. He has to stay away from carbs which is what puts on the weight. He eats very little red meat during the season.
“When we’ve got a dual on Wednesday and then a tournament on the weekend, there isn’t much opportunity to eat,” Lani said. “You can’t go off the diet.”
Lani admits he’s looking forward to the end of the season when he doesn’t have to worry about what he eats. His off-season weight is usually about 150.
When you ask Lani about his future, it’s not surprising to hear he has already mapped out his future. He plans to go to Nevada for four years and major in veterinary science, and then go to Colorado State or Oregon State. His goal is to be a large animal veterinarian.
“I’ve wanted to be a vet for the last six years,” Lani said. “I grew up on ranches. It pays enough to make a pretty good living. You have to be relatively smart and you get to deal with animals.”