The Wake Forest wrestling team came away with a huge 39-29 win over Leesville Road on Thursday night. With the victory, the Cougars control their own destiny in regards to winning the Cap-8 Conference title.
“I am so proud of those boys. They exceeded my expectations tonight,” Wake Forest head coach Ed Mutio said. “We’ve never been in this position since I’ve been involved with the program. I’m really excited.”
Jordan Eakin got Wake Forest off to a good start in the 145-pound weight class, pinning his opponent 1 minute and 5 seconds into the second period.
Leesville responded by winning three out of the next four matches, getting back-to-back pins from Cade Collins (170) and Erik Jones (182), but the Pride struggled to build on that momentum.
“We started in a position where we didn’t want to be, starting at 145, because (we) wanted to do a couple things with our lineup,” Pride head coach Jason Wyss said. “Coming in on paper you’re thinking that some matches could go either way, and they won all the toss-up matches.”
The Cougars won the next five matches (pin, decision, decision, pin, decision) to take a 33-16 lead over Leesville.
The Pride refused to throw in the towel, however. Dylan Crabtree (120), Jason Mills (126) and Dan Mills (132) won their respective matches to bring the Cougar lead down to just four points heading into the final match.
With claims to a Cap-8 title on the line, Wake Forest’s Nicholas Mutio faced the pressure and scored a pin 1:30 into the first period.
“I just knew I had to go out there and get the win no matter what,” he said. “All we have to do is beat Sanderson, and we’ll be conference champs.
“It was a great victory.”
In the 106-pound weight class, Wake Forest’s Michael Pappas wasted no time. Pappas came out aggressive and pinned his opponent Ehab Arif 30 seconds into the match.
Wake Forest’s Jeremiah Rodriguez came up huge for the Cougars in his bout with Michael Kehoe. With 17 seconds left in the third period, Rodriguez pinned both of Kehoe’s shoulders to the mat and helped the Cougars regain the lead. Wake Forest went on to win four consecutive matches.
Wake Forest’s winners
106 – Michael Pappas by pin (:30, 1st)
113 – Joey Hannum by decision (6-0)
138 – Nicholas Mutio by pin (1:30, 1st)
145 – Jordan Eakin by pin (1:05, 2nd)
160 – Sander Cypher by pin (1:05, 1st)
195 – Jeremiah Rodriguez by pin (1:43, 3rd)
220 – Joshua Cathcart by decision (3-1)
285 – Sam Deluke by decision (4-1)
Leesville Road’s winners
120 – Dylan Crabtree by major decision (12-2)
126 – Jason Mills by decision (10-3)
132 – Dan Mills by pin (:50, 1st)
152 – Cole Collins by major decision (13-3)
170 – Cade Collins by pin (1:06, 1st)
182 – Erik Jones by pin (:48, 1st)