Defending SCISA wrestling champion Cardinal Newman defeated archrival and chief contender Hammond 48-28 Wednesday in an early season dual match that has annually served as a preview for the independent school title bout.
The contest was much closer than the final score might indicate. The Cardinals (4-0) did not clinch the win until the 13th of the 14 bouts on the card when Jack Garrick scored a major decision win over Joseph McDougal at 215 pounds to stake CN to an insurmountable 42-28 lead.
Pennington Nieri’s heavyweight pin of Skyhawk T.J. Teagle accounted for the final, superfluous points.
“I was anxious to see what we had because we only have two guys back that stated last season, so we’re young and pretty green,” said Cardinals coach Eric Goff.
“I’m really proud of the way the guys mixed it up tonight. They showed they have a lot heart. Almost every single match was close. Hammond has a good team, they always have a good team. I knew coming in this might be a match that could be a pace setter for the rest of the season.”
Hammond did its best work early, prevailing in five of the first eight bouts to build a 28-18 lead through 145 pounds. The Skyhawks (4-1) lead was build on pins by Gantt Castles (103), Matthew Kay (125), Guy Castles (140) and Bradford McGillvary (145) and a major decision by Gervais Baker at 119. Guy Castles needed just eight seconds to plant Alex Guerin. All of the other Hammond falls also came in the first period,
The Cardinals did not falter again after 145 pounds. The sprint to the wire began with a pin by Nick Palevich at 152, followed by a pin at 160 by Kyle Maitland that put CN ahead for good (30-28), a decision by Jake Wilson at 171 and a pin by Billy Solomon at 189. That set the stage for Garrick to close it out.
Cardinal Newman had three pins in the lower weights – by Nathan Hales (112), Connor Egan (130) and Louis Williams (135).
“It was a hard fought match by both teams,” said Hammond coach Randy Wolfe, the former head man at Ridge View and Blythewood.
“Cardinal Newman’s kids looked good and wrestled hard. Based on tonight, we’re not that far apart. This is a match that could have gone either way. I told the guys that we have to go back to the drawing board and work hard in practice to be prepared for a possible rematch in the playoffs.”
The match proved to be a fall festival. In fact, 11 of the 14 bouts ended with pins – eight coming in the first period.