Wood wrestlers rally to beat Sherando
WINCHESTER — A couple of unexpected losses in early bouts against Sherando Thursday night raised some concerns for James Wood wrestling coach Greg Walker.
The Colonels suffered a close loss in the 132-pound weight class and a lopsided result at 145, and fell behind 17-0 in the team scoring.
Starting out 0 for 4 was certainly not in the plans, or at least that is what Walker was thinking.
“That set me back, and I started thinking real fast ‘Uh-oh, what do we need to do here,’” Walker said. “[But] I knew at 52, 60, 70, and 82 was where we were going to get our points. And we had to get our points there or we were going to be in trouble.”
It was only a matter of time before the Colonels went on the aggressive and turned a 17-point deficit into a seven-point lead, putting the Warriors on their back for wins by fall during a stretch of five out of six bouts, and rally for a 39-33 Northwestern District win at Donald H. Shirley Gymnasium.
When he took to the mat, James Wood senior Brandon Walton (152) didn’t waste any time giving his team a shot in the arm. It took Walton only 12 seconds to pin Sherando backup Michael Schottroffe, and the Colonels were on the board.
“I tried to throw a slide-by and it wasn’t pushed in well enough, so I kind of ankle-picked him, threw him in a cradle, and pinned him,” said Walton, who also has an eight-second pin to his credit this season. “I think it boosted the morale of the team and just made everyone want to win.”
Up next was Logan Bauserman (160), who took care of Justin Angel (3:33) in the second period. The Colonels then got a third-straight win by fall, as Levi Roy (170) spun Hunter Thompson until he got the fall (1:18) to put James Wood ahead for the first time.
Perhaps the most crucial result to fall in favor of James Wood came next. Coming in with a .500 record, James Wood junior Austin Henry faced rugged Sherando junior Thomas Frye at 182, hoping to keep momentum on the side of the Colonels.
Frye opened with the initial takedown, but the pair traded off reversals throughout the second period and into the third, with Frye getting his third of the bout to open a 9-7 lead. But Henry kept the suspense up and got his third reversal to tie, then popped in a quick move to hold Frye’s shoulders down near the edge of the mat to record the fall (4:39) — James Wood’s fourth straight.
“I had to get that win so we could pull out [the team win],” Henry said. “It was a quick, cement mixer. I was looking for it pretty much all night long, and I caught him with it.”
Henry knew just how important it was for him and his teammates to get a string of wins by fall and take control of the match.
“We got on a roll and everybody got a full head of steam and we all pulled it out and worked together,” Henry said. “Sherando’s the [biggest] rival we have.”
Sherando coach Pepper Martin was careful not to blame any one weight class where a loss stung more than any other, but he also knew that the bout at 182, possibly, got away.
“That ended up being a nine-point swing,” Martin said. “We were ahead in the third period, [and] if we hold onto the lead, we get three points. I don’t fault Thomas Frye, because he wrestled his heart out. He’s not quite [experienced enough] yet.
“He had the lead, made a mistake, and got put on his back.”
A win by fall (1:33) by Tyler Hamilton over Devin Moncreif at 195 finally got Sherando a much-needed win to leave it down a point (24-23), but James Wood (3-3, 1-0 Northwestern) took the next three bouts to clinch the outcome of the match.
The next string of success began with freshman Adam Vaddel (220) needing just 47 seconds to pin Connor Barauskas. Sherando looked to get an upset in motion when freshman 285-pounder Ben Avery got the first takedown against James Wood senior Erik Bearer, but Bearer dominated from there to pick up a 7-2 win. When Jimmy Woznak (21-2 at 106) earned his 15th pin of the season by taking care of Sherando freshman Mike Duffy in just 1:03, the Colonels had a 16-point lead and the match clinched with just two bouts to go.
“We’re going to build off it because it’s a good district win,” Walker said. “Just because Sherando lost tonight doesn’t mean they can’t win the district tournament. It’s all about matchups.”
The Warriors (5-2, 1-1) were at their best in the lower weights. Curtis Guthridge (113) and Jacob Guthridge (120) closed the match out with wins, with Curtis winning a 10-3 decision over William Gregory and Jacob (17-3) getting a first-period pin (1:25) over Josh Ford.
To begin the match, Sherando wrestled extremely well. Zach Millwood (126) opened with a win by major decision, 15-1 past Brandon Butts. The closest result for six minutes followed between Sherando sophomore Colton Simmons and James Wood’s Eric Arkfeld. Wrestling Arkfeld for a third time this season, Simmons won another tight bout, moving out to a 3-0 lead in the second period before Arkfeld rallied to pick up an early escape point in the third period to tie. With just over a minute left, Simmons got the go-ahead takedown and rode Arkfeld out from there to win 5-3.
“When I was up in the third, I just had to give it my all,” Simmons said. “I knew I had to ride him out. I grabbed the ankle, drove forward, and just held him down. The first time I faced him, he beat me, then last weekend I beat him. It was close then, too.”
The Warriors got lopsided wins in the two matches that followed, with Kyle Vangel (138) getting a late first-period fall (1:37) over Schyler Litten, and Jordan Dalton (145) having his way (three near-falls) to win by major decision, 14-2, over Ryan Funkhouser to send Sherando up 17-0.
James Wood then got on a roll and took seven of the next eight classes (six by fall) to come away with the win.
“We had a few upsets [go against us] and we had a few people that couldn’t get down to weight, and that really hurt us,” Simmons said. “Now, we’ve just got to come back and try and win districts. That’s all we can do.”