While the Carson High School and Galena figure to be among the front-runners in Northern 4A wrestling circles this coming season, both teams will be given an opportunity to see how they rank against California competition when they cross the stateline to compete in high-powered tournaments this weekend.
Carson will travel to the Central Valley area to make its debut in Oakdale’s 24th annual James Riddle Memorial Tournament on Saturday. Meanwhile, Galena is headed toward the Sacramento area to compete in Ponderosa’s 10-team David Walker Invitational dual team tournament on Friday and Saturday in Shingle Springs, Calif.
Ponderosa, a traditional wrestling power in California, will host a field that includes a Wooster team that swept to championship honors at Carson’s Capitol City Duals this past Saturday.
Meanwhile, the 23-team Oakdale tournament will provide Carson with some tough competition from the Bay Area (American High in Fremont) and from as far south as the Fresno area (newly opened Clovis East).
“We’re glad to have Carson; it’ll be fun to have them down here because this is probably one of the better tournaments we’ve had,” Oakdale coach Dan Casey said. “We’ll have some state and nationally ranked wrestlers.”
Among the blue chippers will be Oakdale’s Matt Cox, who placed second at 135 pounds in California’s state tournament back in March and is currently ranked No. 8 among preps in the nation at 140 pounds (although his football season ended this past weekend in Oakdale’s 25-21 loss to Granite Bay in the section finals).
The Senators are themselves coming off a runner-up finish at their own Capitol City Duals. Carson compiled a 4-1 record with victories over Casa Grande of Petaluma, Calif., (57-8), Florin of Elk Grove, Calif. (65-15), McQueen (40-33) and Galena (46-30) before losing to Wooster (44-18).
“It was a good tournament,” Carson coach Tim McCarty said. “The coaches seemed to be happy with the way things ran and I think that’s a reflection of all the help we get for the tournament from our parents.”
At the same time, another successful tournament was staged in Yerington, where 15 teams competed at the Yerington Lions Club Invitational on Saturday.
The host Yerington Lions posted a 2-2 record with a lineup that included three freshmen and three other first-year wrestlers, according to coach Rod Lemos.
“We’ve got a lot of room for improvement,” Lemos said. “We have a lot of young kids who need to get some mat time under their belt.”
One highlight for the Lions was state 3A champion 191-pounder Dusty Marriott, who went 4-0 on the day. Also, first-year wrestler John Keady logged one win, a pin against Elko, before retiring for the day with sore ribs. Tony Gutierrez also had two pins at 145 pounds.
The tournament featured a number of close battles.
“There were a lot of teams and a lot of individuals that were really even,” tournament director John Dibble said. “There were a lot of matches that could have gone either way.”
An example of that came in another featured individual bout in which Fallon’s Daniel Shaw scored a pair of early takedowns then held on to beat Fernley’s Bobby Burton, 4-3, in a rematch of last season’s state tournament 130-pound final. Shaw defeated Burton in that match.
Elko captured the team championship with a 38-21 victory against Lowry in the finals. One of the featured individual bouts came at 145 pounds, where Elko’s Shawn Reilly was a 14-7 victor over Buster Segura, a state runner-up at 140 pounds last season.
“It was a good tournament,” Lemos said. “John does a heck of a job setting that up. He really puts up a first-class act.”