Carson High wrestling locks up fifth-straight Sierra League title

Zacharie Gafford works Douglas' Sam Hurley to the mat Wednesday night on Gafford's way to a 58-second pin.

Zacharie Gafford works Douglas' Sam Hurley to the mat Wednesday night on Gafford's way to a 58-second pin.

MINDEN – After being crowned as the de facto Sierra League champs last season, Carson High School wrestling left no doubts this season with a 56-15 dual win over Douglas to win its fifth consecutive league title.

“I’m really happy about this,” said Carson junior Izayah Pando. “It’s on the room that our coaches push us in. I have to give props to all my coaches.”

The Tigers earned 12 points in the first three weight classes Wednesday night with two wins by forfeit thanks to open weights not fielded by the Senators.

However, Carson held Douglas to just one match win from that point on, picking five wins by pin.

The Senators first win by fall of the night was the most chaotic matchup of the evening as Vance Hickman put Carson’s Luis Mayoral in a tight spot at 126 pounds, trailing 5-0 after the opening period.

Mayoral put together an impressive second period, grabbing nearfall points on three separate occasions.

By the end of the period, Mayoral had scored 10 points before pinning Hickman in the final second.

Mayoral’s win came after Ariel Vega secured a 6-3 decision win at 113 pounds over Douglas’ Conner Morris.

From there, Max Harris (138) and Izayah Pando (152) each won by pin, earning six points each for the Senators.

“I went against him Saturday at Fernley and he was pretty good,” said Pando of Douglas’ William Barkdoll, who wrestled at 152 pounds. “Last weekend he was really good on top, so I tried to work on setups this time.”

The two pins sandwiched a technical fall win by Edwin Vasquez at 145 pounds, who was awarded three nearfall points in the final seconds of the third round to get the 16-0 technical fall.

For Carson head coach Nick Redwine, having freshman Jon Hurt battle his way to a decision loss at 132 pounds helped swing the confidence in favor of the visiting Senators.

First round pins by Thomas Legott (170) and Zacharie Gafford (182) were the final touches on the Senators Sierra League crown.

The Sierra League title was celebrated following the dual, but both Redwine and Pando know the attention will quickly turn toward the bigger goal of regionals.

“I think we’re going to do pretty well at regionals,” Pando said. “My goal is to make it to state.”

“Everyone’s really happy we won the title, but we still have more work to do,” said Redwine. “To get as many kids qualified for state as we can, that’s the goal.”

Tigers turn focus to regionals

Douglas head coach Jake Fair thought the Tigers’ youth on the roster was tested, but now a week and a half separates any Douglas wrestler from a chance at qualifying for the state tournament.

Fair said his message after the dual was for his athletes to get after it in the practice room and knowing they’ve now seen what the regional foes at each weight class have to offer.

The Tigers lone win Wednesday came from Jaden Blanchard – one of three Tiger seniors, who were honored during Senior Night festivities before the dual.

“He’s had a rocky season cause his mom was in the hospital,” said Fair. “He’s rededicated himself now that his mom is getting healthier and we’re happy to have her back because she’s a great wrestling mom. … I can’t say enough about that kid.”

Hickman and manager Rori Fair were also honored for their work with the Tiger program over the years.

“She’s been a great help for many years being in stats and doing all the video for the guys,” said Fair of his daughter, Rori.

“He’s come along, an amazing kid,” Fair said of Hickman. “From a kid that didn’t know how to tie his wrestling shoes to a kid that’s out there winning a lot of matches, I’m a very proud coach to see him grow as a wrestler.”

UP NEXT: Every wrestler sits on a clean slate as regionals are both teams’ next stop Feb. 7-8. The regional tournament will be held at Bishop Manogue, starting at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7 and 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.

The top three regional wrestlers at every weight class will qualify for the state tournament.


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