By Jake Thompson
LIZTON — After a close first two matches, the onslaught of the visiting North Montgomery Chargers was just too much for the Tri-West Bruins to withstand last night as the Chargers won in dominating fashion, 60-10.
The Bruins were at a bit of a disadvantage with two grapplers out sick and having to give up six forfeits while sustaining three pins within their ranks. That totaled 54 of North Montgomery’s points.
“With wrestling, the score can be a little deceiving,” Tri-West coach Nick Sullivan said. “If you take out some forfeits and a few things go your way, it’s a more favorable evening.”
Of the other five matches, Tri-West won three and lost two, all by decision.
Tri-West senior Holden Ottinger opened up the night at 138 pounds and jumped out to an early 7-2 lead after the first period. North Montgomery’s Brayden Carey, however, would not go quietly and tied the match at 9-9 after the second period to set up an exciting finish. Ottinger scored an escape but gave up a takedown and lost, 11-10.
Tri-West’s Rick Perry stepped to the mat next and battled to a 1-0 win over North Montgomery’s Dennie May, escaping after two scoreless periods with 41 seconds remaining in the match.
“I was proud of Perry’s hustle and even more proud of the leadership with the attention he paid to the other matches along with the encouragement he provided to the other wrestlers,” Sullivan said.
Three forfeits and three pins ensued after that and the Bruins were in a deep hole, trailing 3-39.
Senior Jon Staton lost a 2-5 decision to the Chargers’ Dakota Ramey as the pair went toe-to-toe for three periods.
106-pounder Justin Graham moved the scoreboard in the Bruins’ favor for the first time in seven matches with his 11-2 win and impressed coach Sullivan.
“I was proud of (him),” Sullivan said. “He comes out and competes hard and is fighting through some bad habits but I saw him start to listen in and take advantage of some situations that in previous matches he has missed.”
A pin, two forfeits and another pin later brought up the last match of the night between Adam Boles and North Montgomery’s Stephen Markus.
Boles scored a takedown in the first period and a reversal in the second and that was all he needed, going on to a 4-1 victory to close things out on a positive note for the Bruins.
Cole Purdy (113), a returning letterman, and Justin Wright — last season’s 113-pound sectional champion — were both out of the lineup due to illness.
“Having those two guys would have made us a little stronger and perform a little better overall,” Sullivan said.
The Bruins have a mix of grapplers with different skill levels on this season’s squad. Sullivan admitted his squad is not as far along as he would like but the expectations are different for each wrestler.
“I’ll be honest and say we are not where we want to be as a team,” he said. “But we are really a team of two extremes. We are either very young or they are veterans and there is no in between. It’s a season where you have to stay balanced as a coach and keep your expectations reasonable, still keeping them high for those who need to achieve.
“I saw some good things from some guys tonight fighting off some bad positions where in previous matches they would have been pinned early. That’s what I like to see, the fight and effort out of them.”