Six Carson High wrestlers advance to state
RENO — It was a good weekend for the Carson High wrestling team.
The Senators will send six wrestlers to next week’s state meet at Spanish Springs, including champions Brandon Basa and Sheldon Miller, and the team came away with a solid third-place performance (153 points) behind Spanish Springs (223) and Reno (203) at the 4A regional meet at Reno High School.
Abel Carter (195) and Nathan Mersino (138) took second in their weight class, and Jarod Butler (160) and Kyle Rudy (132) were third. The third-place finish was about the best the Senators could expect given the fact they didn’t have wrestlers at 120 and 126.
“It was a good tournament,” first-year coach Keith Shaffer said. “The boys wrestled hard. I think we made some good progress. It was a good test to get ready for state. We came out pretty healthy.
“We got the five I expected, and Jarod took third which was a pleasant surprise. He was in a tough weight class. He got sick a couple of weeks ago, and we weren’t sure if he would come back to full strength.”
The regional wins by Basa and Miller were the first in their careers. Both will be making their third appearance at state.
Basa, who pinned Owen Jones of Spanish Springs on Friday, topped Ramone Alvarez-Martinez of Damonte Ranch in the semifinals and then pinned J.R. Garcia of McQueen in the second round of the championship match.
Basa fell behind 2-0 early against Martinez, but then reeled off eight straight points before recording the pin. The finale was anti-climatic. Basa got a quick takedown and led 8-0 after the first period. He got the lead up to 13-1 before recording his third pin of the tournament.
“It feels pretty darn good,” Basa said of his first regional tournament championship. “That (winning state) is the end goal, and I’m going to keep working toward that.
“I thought I wrestled sloppy in the semis, but I came back and did pretty good. I stayed aggressive (in the finals). I’d never wrestled him (Garcia), He has always been at a lower weight. He’s a very good wrestler. I just need to keep my weight down this week. I’ve heard some things about the wrestlers (in Las Vegas), but nothing solid.”
The heavyweight class was so depleted, Miller reached the semifinals without wrestling a match.
He started on Saturday with a pin of Reno’s Mason Gill, and then ran into Spanish Springs’ Tyler Barats. The match went the full three rounds and Miller earned a hard-fought 9-6 win.
Against Barats, Miller gave up two escapes and was tied at 2 early in the second period. He led 6-4 after two takedowns while giving up two more escapes. Miller was the definite aggressor. Miller got an escape to go up 7-4 and then was called for stalling to make it 7-5. He put the title away with a takedown with 12 seconds left.
“He (Barats) is who I expected to see,” Miller said. “My dad and I have been watching film all week long.
“Not wrestling on Friday was good and bad. I was relaxed (and rested) coming in, but it would have been nice to get that first match out of the way. It’s not an advantage to see somebody a lot because they know what your key moves are.”
Shaffer was glad to see Miller pushed a little bit.
“Sheldon did a good job,” Shaffer said. “He wasn’t pushed much this year (especially in league). He had to go the whole match. I think this will give him confidence.”
Mersino ran into Damonte’s Cameron Sandoval in a rematch of last year’s final and this year’s dual meet. Sandoval made it three straight with a tough 3-2 victory. Mersino reached the finals with a 9-6 win over Reno’s Payton Jackson.
“I don’t think I did better than last time,” said a disappointed Mersino.
Mersino had tied the match in the second period with an escape, and appeared to have a takedown at the end of the period, but he was unable to finish the overpass to a single-leg move.
He gave up the match-winning escape in the final period.
“He has to trust his body to finish the move,” Shaffer said.
Carter beat Casey Preston of Spanish Springs, 16-9, avenging an earlier defeat at the Cody Louck tournament. Carter led 12-2 at the end of two periods, but gave up six points late in the match.
In the finals, Carter never got on track and lost 15-6 to Joe Miller of McQueen.
“I expect Abel to be better next week,’ Shaffer said. “He wasn’t aggressive like he was in the semifinals.”
Rudy used a controversial call against him on Friday to get his competitive juices flowing on Saturday.
The Carson 132-pounder pinned Levi Jackson early in the third round, pinned Douglas’ Andrew Williams in the second round and then pounded Manogue’s Anthony Rosas, 14-4, for third place and a state berth.
“It (that loss) gave me something to work for (this weekend),” Rudy said.
“It was very fun to watch,” Shaffer said of Rudy’s three wins.
“He belonged in the championship bracket. One call and it was equivalent to throwing the ball out of bounds in a basketball game, but it cost him (on Friday) in that first match on Friday.”
Rudy lost 12-10. He thought he had tied the match, but the officials disagreed.
Butler went 2-1 on the day, but bounced back nicely, and he’s making his first trip to state.
Cole Drescher of Spanish Springs pinned Butler in the semifinals, but Butler pined Damonte’s Ben Garlock in the consolation semis, and then topped Ruben Ruiz of McQueen with a third-period pin.
“I came out and was ready to go,” Butler said. “I’m a senior, and I really wanted to make state this year.
“I’d never wrestled (Ruiz). I prefer not to know anything about who I am wrestling. Drescher is really good. It would have been a big upset if I’d been able to beat him.”