Before Wednesday’s wrestling match against defending Two Rivers 3A Conference champion Western Harnett, Corinth Holders coach Kristian Stewart said his team was better than it looked on paper.
Then, his Pirates went out and looked pretty impressive on the mat – defeating Western Harnett 42-20 behind big men Larry Williams and Frankie Miller.
“Our guys were on their No. 1. tonight. That is what we expected them to do. Individually, we wrestled well. As a team, we wrestled well and it showed on the scoreboard,” Stewart said. “More than anything else, it shows from the beginning of the season to now that we have continued to build. I don’t see that plateauing. I think we will continue to build.”
Williams, a junior wrestling at 220, got a second-period pin over Western’s Gage Griffiin and Miller, a senior, followed with a 20-8 major decision over Western’s Dylan McIntosh.
“They both have a great shot at going for a state championship this year,” said Stewart, whose team improved to 19-5 and 3-0 in the Two Rivers 3A. “We are excited to have the opportunity to hopefully put a state championship banner in here and be the first in Johnston County. So that is what they are shooting for individually.”
For Williams, the goal is to improve on his technique each match.
“Every match, what I want to do is try not just to use brute strength but to better my technique as each match goes on so when I get to the state tournament I can use those techniques to my advantage,” Williams said.
Wednesday, it was about the team for both of the standouts and about picking up a big victory.
“I think this was a key match for our success later in the season,” Williams said. “That match set the precedent for what we are going to do in the future.”
Miller said, “It’s taken us a while to come together, but I feel like we are getting there. This was a big win.”
Western Harnett dropped to 15-4 and 3-1 in the Two Rivers.
“We’re rebuilding this year,” first-year Western Harnett coach Josh Gordon said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys and have only one senior in our lineup. But we are going to compete.”
They said it
While Corinth Holders has key veterans such as Williams and Miller, the Pirates are also getting improving efforts from some of their young wrestlers.
“Every single first- and second-year wrestler has gone above and beyond my expectations this year,” Stewart said.
Corinth Holders sophomore Gray Stewart (132 pounds) secured a second-period pin over Western’s Matthew Johnson to get the Pirates off and going.
Only two of the match’s pins came in the first period, and both were recorded by Corinth Holders wrestlers.
At 160, Mike Darden recorded a fall against Aiden-Kennan Gray 57 seconds into the match. At 170, the Pirates’ Cameron Carroll pinned Brandon Ramos with 14 seconds left in the first period.
Western Harnett’s winners
Chris Smith (138 pounds, pin), Cole Furrie (106), Jack Taylor (113, pin), Trevor Wicker (120), Mason Taylor (126).
Corinth Holders’ winners
Gray Stewart (132, pin), Dustin Styons (145), Brandon Barrow (152), Mike Darden (160, pin), Cameron Carroll (170, pin), Seamus Brennan (182), Aaron Carter (195), Larry Williams (220, pin), Frankie Miller (285).