The Middle Creek wrestling team’s Twitter page features the hashtag #ontherise, but while few would dispute the Mustangs have made considerable strides in recent years, Cary proved it remains the superior team for now in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference by virtue of a 34-21 home victory on Wednesday.
The early-season showdown of unbeatens turned Cary’s way in the early going, as the Imps – ranked No. 3 in The News & Observer’s preseason top 25 – won four straight bouts midway through the match to turn a 6-3 deficit into a 22-6 advantage.
Two of those victories were posted by Delante Robinson and Nate Kinsey, both state qualifiers a year ago. Robinson pinned Kai Lee in 45 seconds in a 152-pound bout, and Kinsey followed with a 12-2 decision over Skyler Hendricks at 160.
Ryan Wolfram (170) and Nick Straight (182) had wins to complete the four-victory stretch, and Dontay Turner (285), Kobe Early (106), and Ethan Mendel (120) later added individual victories as the Imps improved to 8-0 overall, 2-0 in the SWAC.
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“We expected it to be a grinder of a match,” Cary coach Taylor Cummings said. “(Middle Creek coach) Heath Allen has done a really great job with their team. Every single one of their guys knows how to wrestle, and those guys know how to fight. That’s a team to be reckoned with.”
Individual winners for Middle Creek (11-1, 1-1) were Dawson Majette (138), Jack Saha (145), Gabe Pickett (195), Andrfew Molite (220) and Logan Maher (113).
Cary led 13-6 through four matches going into the 170 contest, where Wolfram eked out a 4-2 decision over Middle Creek’s Jaxson Chopp. Wolfram gave up an early takedown in the match but rallied for the victory when he got a takedown with about 40 seconds remaining in the second period to break a 2-all tie, the Imps freshman improving to 13-2 on the season.
THREE TO KNOW
Delante Robinson, Cary: The senior had little trouble improving to 15-0 on the season, using a cradle to pin Lee and give his team the lead for good. “We came through really well, I like our team,” Robinson said. “We don’t stop, we never want to be our backs at all, I love that.”
Nick Straight, Cary: With state qualifier Joe Grena on the mend from a knee injury, the junior has filled in admirably at 182. Straight improved to 11-2 on the season with 58-second pin of Sam Riggsbee. Grena is expected to return soon, but Straight has earned his spot in the starting lineup moving forward. “He was sharing time last year,” Cummings said of Straight. “He’s just a solid wrestler with (good) technique. He’s short but he’s like a boulder, he’s tough to turn and takedown. He’ll be steady for us all season.”
Gabe Pickett, Middle Creek: Pickett had the Mustangs’ most decisive victory of the match, pinning Billy Manley in 2:38 of their 195 match.
BY THE NUMBERS
2: Total matches Middle Creek led that it ended up losing.
8: Number of takedowns by Cary’s Anthony Schiess in his 16-10 decision over Caleb Jolley in their 132 match.
THEY SAID IT
“We expect to win every match we are in, but we just didn’t show up (Wednesday),” Allen said. “We had to take it to them but they took it to us and we put our heads down. We didn’t recover and wrestle for all six minutes.
“But we have to have short-term memory, to be in this position we are right now as a team is awesome. When we took over this program as a coaching staff four years ago we had eight kids, we weren’t close to anything, so this loss isn’t going to end our season, we’re going to rebound.”