Wrestling regional title quest begins
Carson High’s wrestling team has accomplished its first goal, and has its collective eye on goal No. 2.
That would be the regional championship which gets started at 3 p.m. today at Reno High School. Action on Saturday kicks off at 10 a.m. with the semifinals. The finals are slated for 3 p.m. The top three finishers in each weight class advance to the state tournament in Primm on Feb. 22.
Carson last won a regional in 2012 when it hosted the meet, and the Senators would love to make it an every other year sort of thing. Carson, Reno, Spanish Springs and McQueen seem to be the pre-met favorites.
“Everybody is saying how there are four teams (in the hunt),” Carson senior Cody Cunningham said. “We’re looking at it as one team, us. We beat Spanish Springs (in a dual). I know this is a different format, but I think we have a real good shot.”
So does coach Paul Carter, whose team won its sixth consecutive Sierra League championship this year.
“Generally speaking, it’s us, Reno, Spanish Springs and McQueen,” Carter said. “If we wrestle to our capability, I like our chances.
“I think we have a good shot at eight wrestlers (out of 13) going to state. I’d like to see at least eight. We could sneak one or two more in there.”
Much depends on the seeding which is based on league duals only. Here is a weight-by-weight look at the various classes. This was just tentative at press time.
Carson’s Brandon Basa is the top seed in the Sierra (36-9, 4-1), while Spanish Springs’ Tyler Poalillo is tops on the High Desert side. Keep an eye on Reno’s Pearson and Manogue’s Bailey Bright. Casey Stevens is Carson’s extra wrestler in the draw.
“Brandon should move on,” Carter said. “He’s had a great season so far.”
Carson’s Sammy Mercado, 26-11, is No. 2 seed in Sierra behind Damonte’s Brock Simpson. Welch of North Valleys and Reno’s Payton Tsukamoto are the top High Desert seeds.
“Sammy is in a pretty tough weight,” Carter said. “He has the ability to get the job done.”
Austin Martinez, 4-1 and 22-6, is No. 2 in the Sierra draw behind Damonte’s Michael Solferino (5-0). Spencer Rogers also is in the draw. Reed’s Israel Cesarez is the top draw from the High Desert.
“Austin has a pretty good shot,” Carter said. “It’s a very tough weight class.”
Carson’s Dom Kinder, 17-4 and 5-0, is tops on the Sierra side just ahead of Cameron Sandoval, 3-2, Spanish Springs’ Nick Poalillo and Reed’s Heitt.
“Kinder has a good shot,” Carter said.
Carson’s Kyle Sharp is No. 2 behind Max McReynolds, and that’s only because Sharp wrestled up a weight earlier this year and only had three Sierra League matches at his current weight. McReynolds had four wins. Austin Sweet of McQueen and Spanish Springs’ Blake Boswell are 1-2 from the High Desert.
Carter is confident that Sharp will move on, and the CHS senior has a good chance to win it all.
Carson’s Nicholas Lani (5-0, 33-7) is the top seed in the Sierra, and SS star Cole Drescher is tops from the High Desert. Barring a major upset, Lani should be a shoo-in to make state for the second straight year.
“Nicholas has worked hard this year,” Carter said. “He has a great work ethic. He busts his butt on the mat day in and day out.”
Brady O’Keefe (5-0, 32-5) is the top seed, and he’s expected to move on. Reno’s Jeremy Smith is top-ranked on the other side. O’Keefe has been solid the entire season.
Nolan Shine (5-0, 32-8) is No. 1 in the Sierra followed by Tyler Pilling, Devyn Cox of Reno, and Steven Johnson of North Valleys.
“Shine is looking strong,” Carter said. “He’s wrestling well.”
Elijah Fajayan of Carson (8-11) isn’t ranked. Damonte’s Tevin Bailey is the No. 1 Sierra seed, while Reno freshman Andrew Berreyesa is No.1 on the other side. It would be an upset if Fajayan moves on.
“I’d like to see him get a couple of wins,” Carter said.
Carson’s Cunningham (28-7) is second to Damonte’s Matthew Barrett. Both went 4-1 in league, but Barrett beat Cunningham in the dual match. Mason Meyer of North Valleys is No.1 on the other side of the bracket followed by McQueen’s Jared Johnson.
“Cody is looking strong,” Carter said. “He’s got a couple of tough guys in his weight.”
Brady Rivera (29-8, 5-0) is the top Sierra seed opposite Spanish Springs’ Jake Sylvester. Rory Anderson of Damonte and Bryce Cartlige are the No. 2s. One would expect Rivera to go either first or second.
Carson’s Connor Sievers’ two wins was enough to get him seeded third, which means he’ll have to pull off possibly two upsets to advance. Damonte sophomore Adam Jaime is tops in the Sierra, while Reno’s Sullivan Cauley and Reed’s Brik Chesley are 1-2 on the other side. Cauley and Chesley will move on for sure.
Carson’s Sheldon Miller went 5-0 (22-15 overall) at 220, and is the No. 1 Sierra seed followed by Terran Suarez. Damon Ramos of McQueen and Anthony Walsh are tops from the High Desert. Miller needs to be consistent and wrestle smart throughout the tourney. Only three seeds at this weight. Miller has an outside shot.
Corey Jasper (6-8) will man this spot, and Carter is hopeful he can get a couple of wins. Ian Kendrick of Douglas is No. 1 in Sierra and Chase Hauder of Spanish Springs is the High Desert No.1. This isn’t a strong weight class.