PREPS: 4 Carson wrestlers start state title bids today

SPARKS - Four Carson High wrestlers - Nico Garcia, Kyle Sharp. Cole McCarthy and Patrick Craugh - will be looking to end their seasons with strong performances at this weekend's 4A state meet at Spanish Springs High School.

Garcia (37-11), Sharp (32-12) and Craugh (42-8) all finished in second place at last weekend's regional meet, while McCarthy (38-13) advanced by placing third.

Also representing the area is Douglas' Dillon Spates, 40-4, who won the 130-pound Northern 4A wrestling title last weekend at Reno High, along with Dayton's Moises Vega (145) and Joey Moore (215), both of whom will be in the 3A tournament.

Carson coach Tim McCarthy said his wrestlers will be venturing into foreign water this weekend.

"I don't know a whole lot about the southern kids," McCarthy said. "A few of their schools went to the Sierra Nevada Classic and Tournament of Champions, and we didn't go down there this year. I know about some of the kids who may have wrestled in the USA program.

"I think all of our kids have a chance to place this weekend. The weight classes that Cole and Patrick are in are pretty stacked."

The Carson coach said that Garcia may have the best shot at getting to the finals.

"Nico is in pretty good position," said coach McCarthy. "Since he lost in the finals, they split up the first and second-place people from the same league. He'll be opposite Steven Elicegui (of Wooster), the defending state champ.

"Looking at the draw, there aren't any nationally ranked wrestlers or any super-duper guys from the south. I think he has a great shot to get to the finals if he wrestles to his ability."

McCarthy, a sophomore, faces Vince Segura of Basic in an out-bracket match. Both wrestlers were third-place finishers last weekend. Craugh faces Cimmaron Memorial's Bronson Ashjian in the opening round. Ashjian beat Craugh a year ago. Sharp, a freshman, has drawn Austin Lattana, also of Cimmaron Memorial. Garcia takes on Cameron Koffer of Basic.

"The kid (Ashjian) is a hammer," coach McCarthy said. "He seems to have the motor (that never stops). Pat has gotten quite a bit better than he was last year."

If McCarthy gets past his first match, he'll have Arbor View's Ruben Rodriguez, the top-seed in the weight, awaiting him.

"Cole got pinned (by Rodriguez) in the second round at the Sierra Nevada Classic," coach McCarthy said. "Cole was up on him at the time."

McCarthy said he likes Sharp's attitude entering the big event.

"He's young," McCarthy said. "He's going in thinking he can win, and that's what we want him to be thinking. He will be outsized by everybody. Kyle is pretty strong, though."

This weekend will be a return trip to state for Craugh and Garcia, and the first for McCarthy and Sharp.

Coach McCarthy, who has guided the Senators to three straight Sierra League championships, doesn't think that Sharp and Cole McCarthy are at a disadvantage making their first trip to state.

"It might help the two kids who wrestled last year (Garcia and Craugh)," the elder McCarthy said. "I don't see it as that big of thing. All four of my kids have wrestled in the (Carson) Bulldogs program, and they have participated in a lot of big tournaments like the Western Regionals. I don't think any of our kids will come in with the deer-in-the-headlights look."

Moore finished fifth at last week's 3A meet, while Vega was second in his weight class. Dayton took eight wrestlers to the 3A regionals, but only two survived.


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