Young Senators set to make run at 3-peat
Carson High has ruled the Sierra League with back-to-back regular season dual-meet championships.
Making it three straight will be extremely difficult given the fact that coach Tim McCarthy, who is 158-46 in 11 years, no longer has the services of state champ Nick Schlager, Junior Valladares, Ricardo Ugarte, Luke Carter, Justin Barlow and Ryan Hoskins, who were the nucleus of the past two title teams. Last year’s team went 19-2, and the two losses were by a combined seven points.
“This is definitely a young team,” said McCarthy, whose team opens the season on Saturday at Carson Middle School. “We have one senior (Pat Craugh) with experience. We’re not looking that good on paper, but the whole league … Nobody is saying they have a bunch of studs. Spanish Springs graduated a big chunk.
“It’s like trying to put a puzzle together. You’re dealing with skin infections and just trying to stay healthy. Guys can go out and play other sports with a slight fever. Trying to wrestle that way, you feel 100 times worse. Then you have to get certified. Not many kids have been certified yet. Kids are working hard to make weight.”
McCarthy said that certification stops kids from cutting too much weight during the season, a practice that the veteran coach said his unhealthy.
Besides the 112-pound Craugh, 171-pounder Nico Garcia, who wrestled at 145 last year and reached state, also returns. Both Craugh and Garcia went 0-2 at state last year. Cole McCarthy (125), who won 33 matches last season and just barely missed qualifying for state, also is back.
“If he (Craugh) can get certified at 112, it will be huge,” coach McCarthy said. “Nico has grown a few inches and put on 30-some pounds. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. He’ll eventually drop down to 160.
“Cole has put in quite a bit of work in the off season. He went to three different camps this summer.”
Jordan Luhrs (145), last year’s winner of the Most Improved Wrestler award, and Austin Brown (130), the team’s most dedicated wrestler, Tristian Wadsworth (119), Cruz Kerver (135), Alex Azzam (160) and Ty Welch (130) are the other returnees.
McCarthy likes the attitude of his young group.
“We don’t have any prima donnas on this team,” McCarthy said. “The attitude and work ethic have been very good.”
One of the problems that McCarthy has is that he has plenty of wrestlers from 103 to 150 pounds; guys that can go up or down a weight depending on the night’s matchup. What McCarthy doesn’t have is a lot of guys with experience in the heavier weights.
If Garcia drops to 160, Aaron Lopez would probably move into the 171-pound slot. Senior Cody Tucker appears to be the favorite to make the lineup at 189 pounds. Freshman Nevin Elliott is the only other wrestler listed at that weight.
Jonathan Ampudia and Jesse Knight are the only wrestlers listed at 215. Jordan Woodward, a sophomore, is listed at heavyweight along with junior football player Bryan Burgos and freshman Aaron Cowee.
Freshman Kyle Sharp is the team’s only 103-pounder, while Craugh starts at 112. Adan Ortega, Nick Lani and Wadsworth are listed at 119. Cole McCarthy and Nate Stevens are the tops at 125, while Brown, Kerver and Welch are interchangeable at 130 and 135. At 152, it’s Cody Cunningham and Azzam, who also could wrestle at 160 until Garcia drops down.