The East Wake wrestling squad made the most of its limited opportunities to top conference foes from Southeast Raleigh on Wednesday.
With eight of 14 matches ending in forfeit, the Warriors wrestled hard in the six head-to-head matches, coming away with a 51-30 victory over the Bulldogs.
“There were a lot of forfeits,” East Wake head coach Brian Staples said. “(The Bulldogs) had a small squad; we had some holes.”
East Wake won six matches by forfeit, accounting for all but 15 of its points. Southeast accrued 12 points from two forfeits, while the rest of the team’s 30 points came from pins.
Two lightweight matches determined the Warriors’ margin of victory, according to Staples.
“We’re still a very young team,” Staples said. “We got a couple good wins at 120 and 126 (pounds).”
The win at 120 was the only decision of the night. East Wake’s Cody Staples topped Carlton Mudrow, 14-10, in a drawn-out grapple on the mat.
“It was a good, tough-fought match,” Staples said. “The kid was strong – stronger than I was, actually – I had to go to the basics and use my techniques to pull it out.”
Right after Staples left the mat, East Wake’s Morgan Wilder entered the circle for the ensuing match with Southeast Raleigh’s Alex Rossi at 126.
After 5:12 of action, Wilder notched the first pin of the night. The six points boosted East Wake to an early 21-0 lead.
“(Rossi) wasn’t going to give up, but you got to take what you want,” Wilder said of his pin. “I pushed harder.”
With a comfortable lead, East Wake was able to cruise to victory as the forfeits mounted. The squad’s only other win of the night came at 170, when East Wake’s Dylan Williams pinned DeAnte Coleman in 2:42.
“We’ll take a conference win any way we can get it,” Staples said.
The Bulldogs – who earned three pins to the Warriors’ two – got wins from Elry Laporte at 132 pounds (1:11), Jaired Mobley at 160 (:18) and Joshua Mack at 285 (3:14).
With a full squad, Southeast Raleigh head coach Erik Stancil believes there could have been a different outcome.
“The boys that wrestled for me always work hard,” Stancil said. “If we had a full lineup, we would have been alright tonight. We were evenly matched with them, but I think my guys had that edge.”
The Warriors are looking to move forward with some momentum after the win.
“Hopefully, we can have some success toward the end of the season and the conference tournament, maybe in regionals,” Staples said.
Wilder seemed certain of the direction of the East Wake team.
“Nowhere but up,” he said.