Holly Springs hasn’t lost a Southwest Wake Athletic Conference wrestling match in four years, a stretch of perfection that continued Thursday night despite a stiff challenge from Middle Creek as the visiting Golden Hawks pulled out a 40-30 victory.
With the match’s outcome still in some doubt, Matthew Nordberg closed out the victory with a 14-4 decision over Juan Quinto in the final bout at 285 pounds. Had Quinto pinned Nordberg, the match would have finished in a 36-all tie and required a tiebreaker.
Holly Springs (19-0, 4-0) ultimately would have claimed the victory on the eighth tiebreaker – first points scored in the match – but the Golden Hawks as well as their boisterous supporters in attendance didn’t want to take any chances as they cheered loudly as Nordberg broke open a close match with a second-period takedown and three-point near fall en route to the decisive win.
“To be honest, I played it a little bit more defensively,” Nordberg said. “You just have to stay off your back, if something bad happens you have to fight as hard as you can.”
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In the back-and-forth match, it was a stretch of three straight victories for Holly Springs at 152, 160 and 170 pounds that enabled the Golden Hawks to build a significant lead.
Jake Maroney started the streak with a 16-1, technical fall victory over Jack Saha at 152, Hunter Yost followed with a 4-2 decision over Skyler Hendricks at 160, and Zion Cooke concluded the streak with a pin of Jackson Mangino in 1 minute, 29 seconds at 170 that put Holly Springs ahead 36-15 with four matches to go.
Middle Creek (14-3, 1-2) certainly made it interesting before Nordberg finished off the win for Holly Springs.
“It was a little closer than I would have liked it to be,” said Holly Springs assistant coach Cole Long, handling head coaching duties while head coach Nick Nosbisch recovers from surgery he had Tuesday to remove a cancerous tumor from his liver. “Relief is never a good word when you are talking about winning or losing, but Matt came through for us in a big way. That’s a quality win, the type of win that will propel him to beat the kids that he’s supposed to beat.”
They said it
Middle Creek, which recently ascended to No. 7 in The News & Observer’s Top 25 wrestling rankings, proved it has closed the gap between itself and the top teams in the SWAC.
The Mustangs’ only losses have come against second-ranked Holly Springs and third-ranked Cary of the SWAC, as well as one to last year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A dual-meet champion West Forsyth at last weekend’s Mustang Duals.
“To be the best you have to beat the best,” Middle Creek coach Heath Allen said. “We’re a well-conditioned team, and these matches tell us where we’re at. We’re almost there, we’re not quite there yet, though.”
There were very few nail-biters, but a match both coaches pointed to as significant in determining Thursday’s outcome was at 132, where Holly Springs’ Logan Perentis pinned Dylan Majette in 4:12. Perentis led 12-7 after two periods, the pin producing three bonus points for Holly Springs that proved important later in the match.
“That pin Logan got there, that was a product of the first two minutes he put in there (when he built a 10-6 lead),” Long said.
Bryce Koon got Holly Springs off to a fine start when used a headlock to pin Isaiah Olive in 39 seconds in the opening match at 103. The next fastest pin came at 138, where Holly Springs’ Hunter Morton pinned Dawson Majette in 1:13.
Holly Springs’ winners
Bryce Koon (106 pounds, pin), Daniel Meyers (120, 10-2 decision over Jason Brewster), Logan Perentis (132, pin), Hunter Morton (138, pin), Jake Moroney (152, technical fall), Hunter Yost (160, decision), Zion Cooke (170, pin), Matthew Nordberg (285, decision).
Middle Creek’s winners
Logan Maher (113, 8-0 decision over Aaron Wilkie), Chris Jones (126, 16-1 tech fall over Hunter Baratta), Kai Lee (145, pinned Matt Sherman in 3:34), Jaxson Chopp (182, 9-4 decision over Ed Callahan), Gabriel Pickett (195, pinned Josh Josey in 3:21), Andrew Molite (220, pinned Alex Tillage in 3:41).