The Carson High wrestling team is on track to meeting its goal as far as how many wrestlers qualify for the NIAA 4A State Championships. And the Senators may finish a little higher than expected in the team standings in the process.
Carson advanced six wrestlers to Saturday’s semifinals at the Northern 4A Regional Championships on Friday at Hug High. Ariel Vega at 106 pounds, Luis Mayoral at 120, Max Harris at 132, Alex Wells at 152, David Remer at 182 and Ridge Willard at 220 advanced to the semifinals.
The Senators still have a chance to qualify seven wrestlers for state as Gabriel Madera at 145 is alive in the consolation round. The top three wrestlers in each weight qualify for state.
As a team, Carson is in third place, which may be a little surprising since the Senators only had nine scoring wrestlers. Spanish Springs leads with 61 points and is followed by Reed (53.5), Carson (41), Reno (37) and McQueen (33.5). Manogue, Douglas, and Damonte Ranch are all tied for sixth with 29 points.
Three other non-scoring wrestlers for Carson are still alive — Zach Gafford at 170, Dominic Baumgardner at 195 and Izayah Pando at 152.
Carson Coach Nick Redwine said he had a goal of qualifying six to seven wrestlers for state. “I’m a little more optimistic,” said Redwine about meeting that goal.
“I knew we could do it,” added Redwine about contending to finish in the top three. “We had some good pins and good victories. We wrestled pretty well today. I’m happy.”
But Redwine obviously knows his wrestlers will have to be up to the challenge in Saturday’s semifinals. A win in the semifinals guarantees a spot in the finals to be held later Saturday and in state. “It’s really going to depend on the semifinals to see how many were going to be able to qualify.” Redwine said.
Willard will have a tough task. He will face the defending state heavyweight champion, Reed’s Randy Nemedez, who has moved down to 220, in the semifinals.
But Willard’s win in the quarterfinals was one of the highlights for Carson. He trailed Hug’s Angel Hernandez 5-2 late in the second period but scored a reversal and won by pin with 10 seconds left in the period. “He looked probably the best he’s looked all year,” Redwine said.
Madera also stayed alive at 145 by pinning Manogue’s Robert Johnson after trailing 4-3. “He’s been coming on. The way he’s wrestling I don’t see why he couldn’t,” said Redwine about Madera qualifying for state.
Vega pinned Galena’s Connor Cuddy and Reno’s Nickolas Bland in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals. Mayoral pinned Hug’s Victor Reyes to reach the semis.
Harris pinned Reno’s Jackson Jay in the quarterfinals. Wells, one of two state qualifiers from last year for CHS, beat Spanish Springs’ Caden Reasoner and then won by major decision 12-2 over Reno’s Dylan Cox. Remer, Carson’s other state qualifier from last year, pinned Hug’s Bernardo Velasquez to make the semis.
Another highlight came when Pando won to stay alive in the consolation round by beating Wooster’s Carlos Barela 4-2. Pando scored a takedown with 16 seconds left for the win.
The only lowlight for Carson came at 170 when Cole Ashton had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury. Gafford received a win in the consolation round by injury default over Ashton to stay alive.
Baumgardner was brought up from the junior varsity to gain experience and he was indoctrinated right away as he faced one of the state’s best wrestlers, Colby Preston at 195. Preston won by pin.
Douglas advanced three wrestlers to the semifinals: Jaden Blanchard at 126, Byron Fair at 145 and Chad Singer at 195. The Tigers still have five other wrestlers in the consolation round: Elzie Morris at 106, Vance Hickman at 113, Max Smith at 132, Gabrie Foster at 220 and Sawyer Gonzales at heavyweight.
Gonzales won by pin over Carson’s Kenneth Bogle to eliminate Bogle.