Published: Jan 05, 2012 04:15 PM
Modified: Jan 11, 2012 03:30 AM
APEX - Just when it appeared that Middle Creek was going to run away with its third conference win of the season, Green Hope rallied back with one bout left in their Tri-Nine Conference wrestling showdown on Wednesday.
I had been a wild match already, but there was still one more twist left. Middle Creek didnt have anyone to wrestle in the 170-pound class.
Green Hopes steady comeback effort culminated in a 39-35 victory, even if it did come in anti-climatic fashion.
We knew before the match started that it would be a nail-biter, said first-year Green Hope coach Steve Gursslin. It was going to go either way.
Middle Creek won six of the first seven bouts to lead 32-6 halfway through the match. Four of those wins had come by pin thanks to Seth Hampsey (182 pounds), Dylan Krauss (220), Ryan Pasquale (113) and Baffour Atakora (120).
But the Mustangs knew that lead wasnt going to be enough, with two weight classes (132 and 170) ready to be forefeited and some of Green Hopes best wrestlers still to come.
Both coaches knew which match was going to be the pivotal one in determining a winner the 145-pound match between Green Hopes Adam Sullivan and Middle Creeks Patrick Stenett.
Sullivan and Stenett battled for the full six minutes, with Sullivan coming away with a 4-2 win.
He was a good wrestler, said Sullivan, a senior. I knew it was going to be a close match.
Sullivans win put Green Hope within striking distance, down 32-27.
Middle Creek got on the board again at 152-pounds with a 9-4 win by Kyle Brown.
But when Falcons freshman Josh Hartman scored a pin at 160-pounds, it all but clinched the match for Green Hope.
Collin Powers walked onto the mat for the decisive 170-pound match, but no Mustangs wrestler ever came to greet him. Powers hand was raised for the forfeit win.
Weve got that hole right in the middle of our lineup that is really killing us, said Middle Creek coach Butch Stiles. Were in that position every week. Were asking our guys to go out and pin every time and thats pretty demanding of everybody
When youre giving up three or four forfeits, the pins are paramount.
Middle Creek, which also got a 17-6 win from 195-pounder Jacob Baum and a 21-13 win by 106-pounder Nick Gazzillo, was without its top wrestler as Alex Battaglia sat out with a pulled muscle in his back.
Green Hope, which has been without defending state champion John Sparks this entire year, also picked up pins from heavyweight Chad Mason as well as 126-pounder Danny Hegeman and 138-pounder Wesley Lowe.