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Minutes after Millbrook became the lone Cap Eight team undefeated in conference play by beating Leesville Road, 34-30, on Thursday, Wildcats coach Scott Saby got a reminder of what that means.
Wake Forest-Rolesville coach Sam Hershey walked up to greet him.
“See you next week,” Hershey said. “We’re coming for you.”
Saby said that type of competitive atmosphere in the conference is why he and his Millbrook team can’t get too comfortable with their spot atop the Cap Eight.
“There are four teams this year in the conference – Sanderson, Leesville Road, Wake Forest-Rolesville and us – that are pretty evenly matched teams,” Saby said. “It’s a grind, but this is something that the kids are looking forward to, wanting to be the best in the conference.”
Both Saby and Leesville Road coach Jason Wyss knew Thursday’s meet would come down to matchups.
Each coach played the chess game, trying to put their grapplers in the best position to get a win. The teams moved several wrestlers up and down in weight classes to try to secure the upper hand.
Wyss, who knew his team would have to forfeit a match, saw his Leesville team jump to a nine-point lead twice midway through the meet.
“I’m very proud of my guys,” he said. “My lower weights responded really well and dealt with adversity and performed very well. ... It’s close. It’s a heartbreaker. We bumped a lot of guys up and moved a lot of guys around and they responded well.”
The Pride (22-3, 3-1) won six of the first nine bouts. Chris Pendergraft won by ultimate tie breaker over Donovan Dawkins in the 285-pound match; Chris Kimmerly (113) pinned Lee Patton in 3 minutes, 51 seconds; Zach Jones (120) won by decision over Kenyon Rochelle Simmons; Nicolo Buico (126) won by decision over Nick Norton; Dylan Boss (132) won by decision over Angelo O’Briant; Matt Cesari (145) pinned Kelvin Ross in 3:28; and Jackson Tucker won by forfeit to close the meet at 195.
Millbrook (24-2, 5-0) got a boost from several wrestlers returning to action.
David Robinson, Dillon Dawkins and Hunter McClelland all won their respective matches.
Robinson (170) won by major decision over Casey Burns, Dawkins (182) won by forfeit and McClelland (220) started off the meet with a pin against Chris Judson in 45 seconds.
“They were big guys on our team and we needed them,” Saby said. “It was nice to see David come up and beat Casey Burns. He put us ahead. We were behind for a while.”
Other winners for Millbrook were Crayton Saby (106) by decision over Cole Collins, Brett Burton (138) won by pin over Beau Courtney in 1:24, Nigel Griffin (152) won by decision over Tyler Ruff and Chris Williams (160) won by pin over Corey Kennedy in 35 seconds.
“Millbrook’s in the driver seat,” Wyss said. “They beat us and beat Sanderson. They have Wake Forest-Rolesville next week. I’m becoming a big Wake Forest-Rolesville fan. Wake Forest-Rolesville beats them, we beat Wake Forest-Rolesville, we beat Sanderson, it’s a three-way tie and that’s what we’re working towards now. We’re looking to share the conference championship.”
Millbrook travels to Wake Forest-Rolesville on Wednesday while Leesville Road hosts Sanderson on Thursday.