It wasn't so easy for the Lemoore High wrestling team this time around.
But despite an early morning scare against Douglas and later a one-point loss at the hands of Fallon, the Tigers from Central California recovered to defend their championship at the eighth annual Capital City Duals on Saturday at Carson High School. Lemoore capped off its day with a 41-25 triumph against host Carson to create a three-tie for first-place in the round robin championship bracket and prevailed in a tie-breaker to at Carson High's Morse Burley Gymnasium.
Fallon, which earlier edged Lemoore 36-35, finished second in a tie-breaker determined team points scored in the three championship rounds. Despite its 4-1 record on the day, Carson had to settle for third-place, but coach Casey Schweitzer had no regrets afterward.
"I think it was a good day," Schweitzer said. "As a team, I think we wrestled better. We were better between Damonte Ranch last Saturday and our dual on Wednesday (a 36-31 loss at Douglas), I think we were better between Wednesday and today, and that's what we're focusing on. We want to get better every day. If we do that, then the wins and losses will take care of themselves."
Interestingly enough, Lemoore was 30 seconds away from not even making the championship round in its first match of the day, but junior heavyweight Ramon Cabrera escaped with a double overtime win against Douglas senior Matt Castro to preserve a 34-29 victory. Reverse that score and Douglas would have gone to the championship bracket, while Lemoore would have dropped out of contention.
Five regulars were missing from Lemoore's lineup because of the Central Section playoffs, but coach Kent Olson made no excuses. He was simply happy to be in Carson City on Saturday.
"We love this town and we love the area," said Olson, who is in his 19th year at Lemoore and 30th year of coaching overall. "What I like about this tournament, we get good competition and we come together as a team.
"I learned a lot today. Every year, you try to get a grasp of a team's identity and today these kids showed they do have heart and they do have fortitude."
After losing to Fallon, Lemoore rebounded to beat Reno 65-16 and then beat Carson to close out the day. Schweitzer had no qualms about watching his Senators go up against one of the top prep wrestling programs in California.
"I actually wanted to see them. I'd heard a lot about them and they are solid," the first-year Carson coach said. "Fallon is solid, too. We saw some good wrestling today, and we're going to benefit from that."
Three Carson wrestlers went 5-0 during the tournament - Kyle Banko at 130 pounds, Travis Lamborn at 160 pounds, Jonas Schenzel at 189 pounds. Lamborn won three matches by fall, two of which came in the first round. Ahron Osheroff posted a 17-4 win in his 171-pound match against Lemoore, Schenzel and Banko both won their matches against Lemoore by fall (Banko won in 38 seconds, Lamborn in 1:03) and Brian Halverson won by a 7-2 decision.
Lemoore got a pair of key wins from highly regarded freshmen - Vincent Rubio edged Robbie Bozin 5-3 at 135 pounds and Brandon Rocha defeated Owen Craugh 7-2 at 112 pounds. Rocha received the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler award. Senior Willy Pendleton, a Central Section champion last season, won his 160-pound match by technical fall (17-2).
"We're young right now, but we're only going to get tougher this year," said Olson, who will bring his squad back to Northern Nevada in two weeks for the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions.
Lemoore 34, Douglas 29
Douglas stayed in contention thanks to a pin at 125 pounds from Bryan Kaplan, a pin at 140 pounds from Cameron Ames, an 8-0 win from 145-pounder Tony Ferris, a 5-4 win from 171-pounder Sean Molina and 9-0 win from 189-pounder Shane Miller.
Lemoore led 31-29 coming into the decisive heavyweight match between Cabrera and Castro, a state tournament qualifier for Douglas last season. Castro rallied from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits to force overtime. There was no score in the two-minute overtime, then in the 30-second tie-breaker, Cabrera scored a quick escape to win.
"It was an awesome match that came right down to the end," Douglas coach Lamont McCann said. "We go 4-1 and lose to the top team by five points, and we don't get anything (place finish), but I thought we had a great day as a team."
Note: So, how did Olson come to bring his wrestling team from the Central Valley to Carson City? "I found out about this tournament on the Internet, but I knew about this place because of coach (Bud) Brooks," Olson said. Bud Brooks coached Carson's program 1979-92, and before that, he was at Ontario in Southern California - and a coaching rival of Olson's at Chino High. "We used to go at it back and forth," Olson said.
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Capital City Duals
First round: Carson 45, Spanish Springs 27; Galena 46, Carson Renegades 33; Fallon 60, North Valleys 23; Lemoore 34, Douglas 29.
Second round: Carson 54, Wooster 18; Reno 34, Galena 33; Fallon 58, South Tahoe 24; Douglas 57, Reed 15.
Third round: Spanish Springs 63, Wooster 11; Reno 30, Carson Renegades 28; North Valleys 41, South Tahoe 30; Lemoore 68, Reed 18.
Fourth round: Carson 63, Reno 12; Fallon 36, Lemoore 35; Spanish Springs 48, Galena 36; Wooster 39, Carson Renegades 30.
Fifth round: Carson 44, Fallon 35; Lemoore 65, Reno 16; Douglas 66, North Valleys 15; Reed 42, South Tahoe 20.
Sixth round: Fallon forfeit from Reno; Spanish Springs 59, North Valleys 6; Douglas 42, Galena 28; Wooster 48, South Tahoe 18.
Seventh round: Lemoore 41, Carson 25; Douglas d. Spanish Springs; Galena forfeit from North Valleys; Reed 41, Carson Renegades 30.
Lemoore 41, Carson 25
135: Rubio (L) d. Bozin 5-3; 140: Chavez (L) p. Jolcover 1:26; 145: Eichinger (L) p. Scarbrough 2:41; 152: Pendleton (L) tf. Azzam 17-2; 160: Lamborn (C) p. George 1:03; 171: Osheroff (C) d. Manning 17-4; 189: H. Cabrera (L) d. Truesdale 11-5; 215: Schenzel (C) p. Riddle 1:54; 275: R. Cabrera (L) p. McDowell :11; 103: E. Cota (L) by forfeit; 112: Rocha (L) d. Craugh 7-2; 119: Jaramillo (L) d. T. Banko 5-0; 125: Halverson (C) d. C. Cota 7-2; 130: K. Banko (C) p. Reynolds :38.
Lemoore 34, Douglas 29
103 pounds: E. Cota (L) d. Heckhuis 7-6; 112: Rocha (L) d. Wynar 10-2; 119: Jaramillo (L) d. Olsen 4-0; 125: Kaplan (D) p. C. Cota 5:14; 130: Reynolds (L) by forfeit; 135: Rubio (L) p. Boyd 2:41; 140: Ames (D) p. Chavez; 145: Ferris (D) d. Eichinger 8-0; 152: Pendleton (L) d. Williams 11-4; 160: Ceglia (160) p. George :58; 171: Molina (D) d. Manning 5-3; 189: Miller (D) d. H. Cabrera 9-0; 215: Riddle (L) by forfeit; 275: R. Cabrera (L) d. Castro 5-4, 2 OT.