Leesville Road gained a bit of revenge Wednesday evening, and in the process took a big step toward winning the Cap-8 Conference regular-season wrestling title.
Bolstered by late victories by Ethan List and Adam Aldridge, the Pride rallied for a 36-32 victory over visiting Wake Forest in a showdown of conference co-leaders.
Ethan List pinned William Alexander in 4 minutes, 28 seconds in their 152-pound bout, giving Leesville Road (12-2, 5-0 Cap-8) the lead for good, 32-27, and Aldridge followed with a 13-3 decision over Jordan McDonald at 160 in the next-to-last bout of the match to seal the victory.
Last year, Wake Forest defeated Leesville Road, 39-29, en route to winning the Cap-8 regular-season title. Leesville Road did go on to win the conference tournament.
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“This was real big, it meant a lot to me and to my teammates because they did beat us last year and we really wanted to come back, secure the win and take that first-place spot,” said List, who led his match 4-1 after two periods before turning Alexander on his back early in the third to get the fall. “I knew I needed the pin, I told myself I wasn’t going to end the match any other way.”
The matchup of The News & Observer Top 25 teams – Leesville Road is ranked 7th and Wake Forest ranked 22nd – was a back-and-forth affair.
There were eight lead changes, with Wake Forest (12-9, 4-1) taking its largest lead when Ayush Patel pinned Seth Leonard in 1:33 at 126 to give the Cougars a 21-16 advantage with six bouts remaining.
However, Leesville Road responded with four victories over the next five individual matches, starting with Brandon Jones’s 15-6 decision over Stewart Walter at 132, to take control.
“All the guys stepped up and wrestled really well,” Leesville Road coach Jason Wyss said. “We had some iffy things go on and I’m glad to see in the end that their hard work paid off.”
THEY SAID IT
“They hit us where we’re good, they bumped up a couple of kids and it was a rude awakening,” Wake Forest coach Ed Mutio said. “We have to get back to the drawing board, we have to get better. ... We have other goals now, the (Cap-8 regular-season title) isn’t a goal anymore. We have individual weight classes at the conference tournament, and maybe the team title to go for, as well as advancing guys to the regionals.”
Ithiel Rico’s 4-2 decision over Leesville Road’s Eric Jones at 220 provided some tense moments late, but the 106-pound bout between Leesville Road’s Justin Tibbs and Michael Pappas Constantino was an action-packed rumble from start to finish, with Tibbs finally getting some breathing room late with a reversal and a three-point near fall midway through the third period in winning by a 15-10 decision.
Wake Forest’s Jack Malone had the honors, winning by fall in 1:04 over Daniel Mosakewicz at 195. Dan Mills had the quickest pin for Leesville Road, dispatching of Spencer Cathcart in 1:07 of their 138 match.
LEESVILLE ROAD WINNERS
Christian Bascom (182 pounds, pinned Jordan Eakin in 4 minutes, 45 seconds), Brandon Govan (285, won by 5-0 decision over Sam DeLuke), Justin Tibbs (106, decision), Simeon Ruff (120, won by 9-0 decision over Tim Mallo), Brandon Jones (132, decision), Dan Mills (138, pin), Ethan List (152, pin), Adam Aldridge (160, decision).
WAKE FOREST WINNERS
Jack Malone (195, pin), Ithiel Rico (220, decision), Joey Hannum (113, forfeit), Ayush Patel (126, pin), Blake Brewer (145, pinned Zach Hedgepeth in 3:36), Sander Cypher (170, forfeit).