Eleven teams, including one of California's premiere prep wrestling programs, will compete in the eighth annual Capital City Duals today at Carson High School.
The Carson Senators join a field of Northern Nevada teams and Lemoore from Central California in a dual team tournament that is scheduled to get under way at 9 a.m. in Carson's Morse Burley Gymnasium. The winners of four different pools will face off in a round robin format at the end of the tournament.
The tournament should be a good one, according to tournament director Tim McCarthy.
"It should be a pretty good beginning-of-the-year tournament," McCarthy said. "You had the Damonte Ranch Duals last week, but I think a lot of teams were not at full strength because of the Thanksgiving holiday, so this is really the first real test to see where everybody's at and what weights the kids will be wrestling at."
Douglas, Fallon, Galena and Carson - teams that figure to battle for the Northern 4A Regional championship in February - will be on hand, along with Spanish Springs, Reno, Wooster, North Valleys, Reed and South Tahoe, along with Lemoore from California's San Joaquin Valley.
Lemoore is a traditional power that placed eighth at the California state tournament last season behind 125-pound champion Mark Andersen, who signed to wrestle at West Virginia. Furthermore, this is a program that was ranked No. 9 in the nation in 2000 and produced Chris Pendleton, who became a two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State during the 2004-05 season. Pendleton's younger brother, Willy, won the Central Section 145-pound weight class as a junior last season.
The Tigers showed depth last year when they used 25 different wrestlers to defeat four straight opponents, capped by a 77-10 win against Carson in the championship match. In fact, when the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler Award was handed out, coach Kent Olson put up his entire team.
The good news, at least for opposing Northern Nevada teams, they won't have all that depth because of Lemoore's Division III Central Section playoff game against El Diamante Friday night in Visalia, Calif.
"We had a lot of success last year, and we look like we look like we'll probably be even better this year, but you're probably not going to see it this weekend because we're in the football semifinals right now," Olson said. "But we still have a lot of fine wrestlers in the middle and lower weights."
Douglas and Carson will be teams to watch, especially after waging a hard-fought Sierra League duel in Minden on Wednesday night - which Douglas rallied to win, 36-31. The Douglas Tigers gave Lemoore its closest test at the Capital City Duals last year - a 41-30 match - and the two teams open at 9 a.m. today.
Carson opens with a 9 a.m. match against Spanish Springs, a winner against Galena in its High Desert League opener on Wednesday.
The host Senators feature junior 160-pounder Travis Lamborn, the Northern 4A champion and third-place finisher at state in that weight class last season; Owen Craugh, a two-time state qualifier and regional 103-pound champion last season; and two-time state qualifier Robbie Bozin.
Galena returns three Northern 4A champions: Kevin Gerow (119 pounds), Joey Milegich (145) and Cole Dowty (171). Fallon is the defending region champion and returns 189-pound gold medalist Lyle Gardner.
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