RONDA — Mount Airy wrestling split a tri-match with East Wilkes and Reagan Wednesday.
The Granite Bears beat the Cardinals 44-31 and lost to the 4A Raiders 47-30.
Mount Airy started the meet with Reagan. Halfway through the match, the Bears held a big lead at 30-11. However, the bigger school ran off five straight pins and one forfeit for 36 unanswered points.
“We gave that one away,” said Coach Steve Braune. The kids just made a few costly mistakes and got caught.
As for Reagan being a 4A school, Braune said he and Coach Michael Bodnar tell the boys that it doesn’t matter.
“You’re not wrestling the school, you’re wrestling the kid on the mat,” Braune said. If a wrestler just takes care of his own match, the team results will be there.
In the match, Cameron Pack earned a forfeit and four Bears pinned their opponents, all in the first period.
Tyler Duty (126) earned a fall in 51 seconds over Ryan Springer. Shay Wilson (145) pinned James Harris in just one second longer, 52 seconds.
Dallas Smith (160) got the fastest pin in just 30 seconds over Julian Manrique. Landon Mumford (170) pinned Devin Klasic right at the end of the period.
Braune also noted some gutty performances by those who lost. Andrew Moore (152) battled hard, but came up just short in a 7-5 decision.
With Jordan Atkins out with a knee injury, Kolte Poore moved up to 182 and kept the match close. He lost 6-1, but only gave up three team points.
Mason Timmerman (220) and Brian Bennett (heavyweight) had performed well in the Blackhawk Invitational over the weekend, so the coaches had high expectations in this match. However, both were pinned by Reagan.
Against East Wilkes, Wilson and Mumford again had strong performances for their second wins.
Wilson pinned Josh Smith in 1:22, and Mumford earned a technical fall over Jesse Laws 17-2.
At 106, Alex Howard went back and forth with Matt Philley. One wrestler would get a takedown, then the other would get an escape or reversal, said Braune.
Finally with just two seconds left, Howard pinned Philley.
The other Bear to earn a win was Moore at 152. Like the Howard match, the two went back and forth before Moore earned a 13-6 decision.
The Cardinals gave up forfeits to Duty, Poore, Arlen Sechrist and Jamie Smith.
Pack wrestled well against Derrick Woodie before getting caught for a fall, noted Braune.
The Cards have two wrestlers who finished in the top four in the state last year, but the Bears didn’t give up a pin to either of them.
Smith lost a major decision 12-0 to Cody Mathis (third in the state), but wasn’t pinned, the coach said.
Zach Faircloth was runnerup at 220 last year, but is at heavyweight now. He went against Bennett.
Bennett kept him from taking control and only lost 5-2, a minor decision that is worth just three team points.
Nick Kendall, a first-year wrestler, had a great match with Eli Billings. Nick is inexperienced but eager to learn and battled well. Billings caught him late in the second period for a pin, but Nick showed well, the coach said.
Braune said he started his coaching career at East Wilkes in 2000, so it was nice to win over his former school.
The Bears (5-3) will take part in the Mount Tabor Super Duals this weekend along with Surry Central. Several teams will face off on both Friday and Saturday.