CARY — The only tense moments in Cary wrestling’s match against Panther Creek on Wednesday were in the early stages. Panther Creek was going to take an early lead because the match started in the heavier weights, and the only question was by how much.
Then came the lighter weights, which is when the advantage shifted back to Cary and the suspense ended. The Imps rolled Panther Creek 56-23.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys that really wrestle each other tough in practice, and steel sharpens steel,” Cary coach Taylor Cummings said.
Panther Creek’s best and most experienced wrestlers are in the heavier weights, and it showed as the Catamounts led 17-6 after the first four bouts, starting with a 12-second pin by 170-pounder Cameron Shaffer and continuing with a 52-second pin by Rony Nasrallah (195) and a 16-1 tech fall by Matt Powell (215) in his first match of the season.
Cary’s Alex Zuniga (182) pinned in 2 minutes, 30 seconds and heavyweight Javon Jarrett ended the match with a quick reversal and pin in 2 minutes, 33 seconds.
It’s these Cary wrestlers who hold the key as to whether the Imps (6-0, 3-0) can win the conference or make it back to the state title. The biggest test comes Wednesday at Holly Springs.
“There is no resting easy,” Cummings said. “We know Holly Springs is solid through and through. They’re going to give us all we want and it’s going to be a grind. All we can do is better ourselves by being prepared.”
Cary’s Ian Anderson (103), Nick Tarvin (113), Luke Fryar (120), Parker Ragsdale (126) and Will Clark (145) may be small in stature, but they were big on the scoreboard, each recording a pin. Kollin Wade (132) won 12-2 to round out the lighter weights.
Clark lost just once last year and finished third in the state.
“Towards the end of the year, I started getting a little sick and a little banged up,” Clark said. “My plan this year is to just stay healthy and hope to end up just a little better.”
Cary’s Ke Wang won 13-1 in his match and 160-pounder Mark Mulligan notched his pin in 3 minutes, 52 seconds.
Panther Creek (4-3, 1-2), which dropped 9 of the last 10 bouts in the match – a pin by 138-pounder Patrick Gallagher was the victory – is learning as it goes under first-year head coach Chad Sichak. But Sichak has a good situation. Long after the varsity match was done, Cary and Panther Creek junior varsity wrestlers were still competing.
“We have probably 25-30 JV guys who are all pretty much first- or second-year (wrestlers),” Sichak said. “That’s going to be our strength is the JV guys in the next couple of years. They’re hard workers.”
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps