01/18/06 — ECC 3-A wrestling - Saints seize comeback win at New Hope

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ECC 3-A wrestling - Saints seize comeback win at New Hope

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 18, 2006 2:17 PM

Head bent and focused on the scorebook as if he was taking a major exam, Eastern Wayne wrestling coach Mike Brown studied the individual bouts with Southern Wayne one by one.

Brown shook his head.

"We've lost," he sighed.

On paper, Brown had the Saints claiming a three- to six-point victory. His calculations later proved accurate.

Southern Wayne collected pins in the final three individual matches and seized a come-from-behind 42-39 win Tuesday evening before a sparse crowd at New Hope. The Saints (5-11) remained unbeaten in two Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference outings, and denied the Warriors' bid to clinch one of the league's two dual-team playoff berths.

Brown's concerns surfaced during weigh-ins. Starter Detori Mitchell couldn't compete due to a shoulder injury and another wrestler missed the match due to sickness. Two part-time starters failed to show, which put significant holes in Eastern Wayne's lineup.

"They were short-handed, too, with the kids they were missing and we were going to win anyways (with a full lineup)," said Brown. "The kids I was missing, we could have bumped. It would have been a different outcome.

"That's why you wrestle the matches."

Tied at 12-12 after four individual matches, the Warriors (17-6, 2-1 ECC) picked up three consecutive wins. Travis Turner tied the single-season school record for victories (45) with a second-period fall against Ryan Bragg at 171 pounds. Vince Ramirez set the mark in 2001 and Chris Tesar, a sophomore, tied it last season.

Tyler Wicks pinned the Saints' Ricky Coley late in the third period at 189. Brandon Johnson earned his 43rd win with a first-period fall over J.D. Medlin at 215 pounds.

The Warriors led 30-12.

"Tyler pinning their kid was big," said Brown. "Travis looked a lot better against their 71 because he put Travis on his back last weekend. That surprised Travis, but I think he was ready for it tonight."

Southern Wayne received forfeits at the next two weight classes -- heavyweight and 103 pounds -- to pull within 30-24. Tesar edged Doogie Niemond 7-4 in a rematch of Saturday's 112-pound final during the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Tesar's decision eventually proved crucial in the overall outcome. The teams finished tied at 7-7 for individual match wins. Had Tesar pinned Niemond, each team would have recorded the same number of six-point wins. The official would then break the tie based on criteria in the rulebook.

"Tesar-Doogie ... that's never a gimme," said Brown. "Tesar wrestled Doogie tough again."

Keith Brodie drew the Warriors' last individual win -- a forfeit at 119 pounds. Brown's squad led 39-24, but he knew the advantage just wouldn't last.

Sitting with his legs crossed and an arm dangling over a chair beside him, Brown watched in silence as the 15-point lead evaporated.

Tristan Bass started the Saints' match-clinching rally with a third-period fall against A.J. Washington at 125 pounds. Washington avoided letting his shoulders hit the mat for nearly half a minute, which would have resulted in a four-point loss. But Bass put a little more pressure on Washington's head and the shoulders touched with three seconds left on the clock.

Josh Richards (130 pounds) nearly pinned Brack Duvall in the opening period, but eventually got the fall early in the second. Teammate Eric Futrell (135) needed just 58 seconds to pin the Warriors' John Fricks and secure the comeback.

"We're strong where they may have a few holes," said first-year Saints coach Andy Sullivan, who had 11 wrestlers suited up for the match. "On any given night, this match could have gone the other way. I couldn't ask the guys to give me more (tonight) than what they gave me.

"My guys showed how big their heart was tonight. Even when our backs were against the wall, they stepped up and got six when we needed it. Tristan, Josh and Eric -- although they're not seniors -- wrestled like seniors tonight."

Eastern Wayne must beat archrival Charles B. Aycock on Jan. 31 and hope the unbeaten Golden Falcons win next Tuesday evening at Southern Wayne. If the Warriors lose, they'll remain eligible for one of the two wildcards avaiable in the 16-team eastern bracket.

Southern Wayne 42

Eastern Wayne 39

140 -- Vic Darden (SW) wbf T.J. Highsmith, 1:14; 145 -- John Futrell (SW) by forfeit; 152 -- Joey Burridge (EW) by forfeit; 160 -- Brian Lincoln (EW) by forfeit; 171 -- Travis Turner (EW) wbf Ryan Bragg, 2:54; 189 -- Tyler Wicks (EW) wbf Ricky Coley, 5:34; 215 -- Brandon Johnson (EW) wbf J.D. Medlin, 1:07; Hwt -- Josh Robinson (SW) by forfeit; 103 -- Dustin Richards (SW) by forfeit; 112 -- Chris Tesar (EW) dec. Doogie Niemond, 7-4; 119 -- Keith Brodie (EW) by forfeit; 125 -- Tristan Bass (SW) wbf A.J. Washington, 5:57; 130 -- Josh Richards (SW) wbf Brack Duvall, 2:37; 135 -- Eric Futrell (SW) wbf John Fricks, 0:58.

Records: Southern Wayne 5-11, 2-0 Eastern Carolina Conference; Eastern Wayne 17-6, 2-1.