After a two-week wait, fans of Mount Airy wrestling finally got to see this year’s Granite Bears compete on their own mat Thursday afternoon.
The defending Northwest 1A Conference champions are still missing a few wrestlers due to injuries and football commitments, but it didn’t stop Mount Airy from sweeping a tri-meet from North Wilkes and West Stokes, downing the Vikings 45-30 and then taming the Wildcats 54-24.
“It was a good night, I thought we wrestled pretty good,” said Mount Airy head coach Cody Atkins. “There were a few matches where we had the lead and let things get away from us, but other that than it was a good night.”
In the first match of the evening, the two visiting teams wrestled each other. West Stokes, which had just nine wrestlers available and thus forfeited several weight classes, won most of the contested matches against North Wilkes, but the forfeits left it in a 12-point hole with just two matches left. Had they pinned out for a tie, they would have won on a tie-breaker, but the penultimate match ended in a major-decision win, and North Wilkes held on for a 42-40 victory.
Because the Vikings faced a long bus ride home, it was agreed that they would stay on the mat and wrestle the Bears in the night’s second match, and then Mount Airy would face West Stokes.
The Bears fielded a full lineup except for one weight class, but Wilkes’ own full lineup allowed it to be competitive.
The match opened at 152 pounds, with Mount Airy’s Gabriel Sechrist scoring a third-period pin. At 160, Austin Tumbarello made short work of his man in less than a minute, and the Bears were already up a dozen. Jackson Tumbarello needed two periods to make the same result at 170, for an 18-0 lead. The pin streak ended at 182, but not the win streak. John Bennett was tied 4-4 after two periods, but his opponent intentionally conceded an escape to open the third period, intending to score a takedown and win the match. But Bennett held neutral for the full two minutes and claimed a 5-4 win and a 21-0 Bear lead.
The Vikings answered with three straight pins in the heavier weight classes and made the turn back to 106 down just 21-18.
At the top of the lineup, Barron Pilson got Mount Airy back on track with a pin, and Daniel Troutman took his opponent at 113 down in less than a minute. Luis Osorno dropped a 5-4 minor decision at 120 to make the score 33-21, but Daniel Olvera scored seven points in the first 45 seconds of the 126-pound match and then scored the pin before the first period ended. The teams traded pins sandwiched around a minor-decision win for the Vikings at 138, with Chris Butera ending it at 145 for the Bears with another first-period pin.
After a brief warm-up period to allow West Stokes to get ready, the Bears faced the Wildcats for the second time in six days, having already seen them in Saturday’s Turkey Duals down in King.
For this match, Austin Tumbarello opened things up, and the junior was once again in top form. The older of the Tumbarello brothers was pitted against a quality opponent in Phillip Lowman, but responded with a quick takedown, followed by a pin in just 93 seconds.
West was then forced to forfeit to Jackson Tumbarello, Bennett, Kristian Porter and Nate Kiebler, with a double-forfeit at 220. When the team made the turn to the top of the lineup, the home team led 30-0.
At 106 pounds, Carson Goins got the Wildcats on the board by pinning Pilson, but then had to forfeit to Troutman. At 120, Osorno pinned Isaac Church right at the buzzer to end the first period. Olvera did a bit better, finishing off Hayden Frosh and leaving nine seconds to spare in the opening period. The 132-pound match saw plenty of action between the Bears’ Hernan Ramirez and the Cats’ Evan Wall, but in the last seconds of the opening period and the score tied 4-4, Ramirez caught Wall in a mistake and pinned him with four seconds left.
Another high-action match at 138 went into the second period and ended in a pin for Stokes’ Zach Watts over Colby Baker. Baker held a 9-3 lead in the second period, but he made a mistake that got him caught on his back and Watts closed it out.
Butera and Garrett Lowe went back-and-forth well into the third period of their match, and Lowe was frequently getting the better of it, but after opening the third period down, Butera scored a reversal and then got the pin for a 54-18 Bear lead.
West Stokes’ Noah Hall ended the match with a second-period pin of Sechrist at 152.
Mount Airy hits the road again on Saturday, when the Bears travel to West Wilkes to compete in an individual tournament. Their next home appearance will be in another two weeks, on Dec. 13.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.