Wake Forest and Leesville Road have been battling to be king of the Cap-8 wrestling world.
Saturday, it was the Cougars who came out on top. Coach Ed Mutio’s squad held off the regular season champion Pride to win the Conference’s wrestling tournament.
Wake Forest advanced seven wrestlers to the finals, gaining individual championships from Joe Hannum (113 lbs.), Ayush Patel (126), and Travis Voelker (220). Wake Forest scored 200.5 points to Leesville’s 185. Heritage (146.5) took third and Millbrook finished fourth (99).
“Winning this was a goal for us,” Mutio said. “We lost Sander (Cypher) to an injury early and we got the team together and said, ‘this win is for Sander,’” Mutio said.
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“He means a lot to this team and everyone rallied together. We had some guys who worked their way back through the consolation matches.”
Leesville came up short of its goals of taking the tournament. For the Pride, Cade Collins won with a pin at 170, Brandon Govan won 285 with another pin and senior Dan Mills, the Conference Wrestler of the Year, captured 132 with a pin.
“Dan is very deserving of that award,” said Leesville coach Jason Wyss, who was named Coach of the Year. “He’s had an awesome career since his freshman year and is a great kid. He’s qualified for states twice and placed last year. I can’t say enough about him.”
Wyss was also disappointed with not winning the tournament, but saluted the winners.
“We use this is as a springboard for the postseason, but now we’ve got to go back to work and turn some of these results around,” Wyss said. “Wake Forest beat us head to head in some matches today. They went out and won it.”
Host Millbrook had two champions, Matthew Engel at 182 and freshman Will Saby, who was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
Saby had a pin in the first round and then decisioned Wake Forest sophomore Michael Pappas Constantino 3-2 in the second round before winning the finals with a decision.
“I like wrestling, it’s fun to compete,” said Saby, who has 20 pins in his 30 wins this season. “I want to get to the Regional Finals to qualify for states.”
Heritage champions were Jonathan Chester (145) and David Halatek (195).
Broughton’s Patrick Maxwell (138), Braxton May-Nicholson (152), and Christian Hite (160) also took championships.
Benjamin DeRose of Sanderson won at 120.
Wake Forest now turns it attention to the playoffs, but will enjoy this championship.
“Hannum got us going with a tech fall in the finals in a big match today,” Mutio said. “He’s a captain and provides a lot of leadership, along with Patel and (Tim) Mallo. “Everybody prepaired and wrestled tough.”