The start of Wednesday’s match was symbolic of the very thing Middle Creek wrestling Heath Allen is hoping to change.
Fuquay-Varina rolled up five straight pins to start the night as the Bengals overpowered visiting Middle Creek 63-15 in a Southwest Wake Athletic Conference season finale for both teams.
With the action starting at 160 pounds, Fuquay-Varina (17-10, 3-4) wasted no time going to work as Jeremiah McCoy got the best of Middle Creek’s Juan Quinto. At 170 pounds, Josh Harrington ran up a 9-2 score after two periods before finishing off Eric Henderson in the third.
Hunter Therrien was on his way to a major decision over Gabriel Pickett at 182 before upgrading to a pin and then Charles Dickens pinned Orlando Cardenas with just two seconds left in the second period at 195. The run of pins was rounded out by John Royal’s 51-second disposal of Andrew Motite at 220 pounds.
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“Five straight pins, it’s a great way to start,” Bengals coach Josh Gordon said. “We came out fired up and that’s what we wanted to do right out of the locker room.”
Fuquay-Varina wasn’t done just yet as Austin Clem notched a 132-pound pin of Jackson Mangino and Dayan Gaddy picked up a nightcap pin of Kenneth Ferrari at 152. Taylor Highsmith defeated Josh Moss 7-0 at 138 pounds.
Besides a pair of forfeits, the Mustangs’ only win of the night was Christian Rodriguez’s 6-3 decision over Nate Williams in the heavyweight division.
For Allen, the slow start was a microcosm of something more. The third-year coach is hoping to instill a youth wrestling program.
“We’re trying to get people interested younger. A lot of kids, their first year (wrestling) is their freshman year. You’ve got to have success starting early,” Allen said.
The future for the Mustangs (7-12, 1-6) looks bright. Of the 26 wrestlers in the program, just four are seniors, 18 are sophomores and the numbers have kept growing since Allen took the helm two years ago.
“When I took over the program there were eight kids,” Allen said. “Last year we had 18 and this year we’re up to 26. So I’m just trying to continue to grow our numbers and make it fun for them. It’s a grueling sport. That’s why 100 people don’t come out for it. We’ll be there. There’s potential growth for the future.”
Neither team will be advancing to the postseason but both will look forward to the individual playoffs and beyond.
Allen hopes to get five to 10 wrestlers into regionals.
“Then hopefully I can get one to maybe three punch their ticket to states,” Allen said. “It’s anybody’s game. Anybody can win any given day.”
Things are just as promising at Fuquay-Varina, which loses just two seniors and has hopes for several wrestlers in the individual postseason, most notably senior Daniel Cockerill.
“We’re not getting enough offseason experience,” Gordon said. “That’s what the best teams do, they wrestle in the offseason. Last year we only had a couple guys wrestling in the offseason. If we can get 10 or 12 guys doing it, we can be a different team.”