Cardinal Gibbons walked away with a split Wednesday as the Crusaders hosted a tri-meet with Ravenscroft and Southern Durham, but Gibbons coach Jonathan Armfield was pleased with his team’s performance in both the win and the loss.
“I thought we did really well against Southern,” Armfield said of Gibbons’ 48-30 win over Southern Durham. “I thought we did better than (expected). I know Southern’s giving up a lot of weight classes, but I thought the guys that won looked really good .... and that was big. That was a conference win for us.”
Southern forfeited six of 14 weight classes in the first match of the night, while Gibbons picked up minor decision wins from Brooks Bailey (113 pounds) and Addison Saleh (160). Nima Zolghadri pinned Southern Durham’s Daquan Blue in 5:18.
Gibbons, a young team, is focused on basics such as filling each weight class, something the Crusaders struggled to do in the past, forfeiting five or six weight classes in each dual meet last season.
“They’re a young group,” Armfield said. “We only have one senior, and he did very well tonight, so we’re only losing that one senior. He’s going to be a big loss for us, he’s a heavyweight, so we’re going to have to find a way to replace him, but we have everyone (else) coming back. ... We’re only going to get better from here.”
Xander Saleh, the Crusaders’ lone senior, won by forfeit against Southern Durham and then came out on top with a quadruple overtime ultimate decision win over Ravenscroft’s Calvin Atkeson to open the final matchup of the night, in which Gibbons fell 50-25 to the Ravens.
“This is the second time we’ve seen Ravenscroft,” Armfield said. “We had a much better showing this time than we did the last time, so we’re moving in the right direction and this program is growing, and we should be right where we need to be in a couple of years.
“I’m really happy with this team. They’ve really answered the call. We’ve got a lot of young guys in the lineup who have made strides from the beginning of the season and those guys that are second-year wrestlers that are wrestling up on varsity have even made further strides, so I’m really proud of our guys and how they wrestled tonight.”
Ravenscroft got pins from Wes Stroud (126), Liam King (132), Jonathan Prather (160), Tristan Hammersla (170) and D.J. Washington (220), while Ian Conley (145) won by major decision and Bradley Conley (138) by minor decision in the match against Gibbons.
The Crusaders jumped out to a 19-0 lead boosted by a Ravenscroft forfeit at 106, Bailey’s win by pin in 1:34 at 113 pounds and David Wicklin’s major decision win at 120 before the Ravens took control of the match to complete a sweep for the night after topping Southern Durham, 51-21. Cardinal Gibbons’ Derek Rose won by pin at 182 pounds.
“We knew we had two that we could in, but we had to win them on the mat,” said Ravenscroft coach Garrett Cummings. “There was not going to be anything that was going to be given to us. We were not going to win it on forfeits, and that’s what you come to do – you come to wrestle it on the mat, and that’s what happened. ... We’ve got some guys that are finally doing some very good things and we were able to take care of business in this.”